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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Watertown Public Library - children's room at Christmas

Children's area of the Watertown Free Public Library (East Branch).1

As the stellar numbers reported in 1927 reflect, the number of public libraries in Massachusetts grew at a healthy pace during the Commission's first few decades. Throughout its history, though, there have been times when the number of public libraries has decreased from year to year.

In 1928, this happened for an interesting reason. "Prescott, the first town [to be] obliterated by the new Ware River reservoir," lost its public library2 when the town held its last meeting and was handed over for administration by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission (MDWSC).3

Prescott was unincorporated ten years later along with the three nearby towns of Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana. During those years, the buildings in those towns were demolished or bought and moved elsewhere in the state. In 1932, the MDWSC voted to call the reservoir Quabbin, "a Nipmuck Indian word for the place or the meeting of many waters." Today, along with the Wachusett Reservoir, the Quabbin is Boston's primary water supply.3

What else happened in 1928?

  • The Winter Olympics were held in St. Moritz, Switzerland from February 11-19. 24 athletes from the United States participated, compared with 280 in the Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam later that year (July 28-August 12). The 1928 Summer Olympics debuted women's athletics and gymnastics.
  • In the Winter Games, the U.S. won exactly two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals. In the Summer Games, they fared much better, winning 22, 18, and 16 medals respectively.
  • Germany was allowed to return to the Summer Olympics after being banned in 1920 and 1924.
  • Coca-Cola's entry into European markets began with their Summer Games sponsorship.[4][5]

1. Digital Commonwealth [link].
2. Annual Report of the Board of Library Commissioners for the Year Ending November 30, 1928.
3. [link].
4. 1928 Winter Olympic Games - Wikipedia entry [link].
5. 1928 Summer Olympic Games - Wikipedia entry [link].