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'We did it with style'

E. Brimfield Dam celebrates 50th

November 11, 2010
STURBRIDGE — As usually happens, a big birthday warrants a big birthday cake.

But in this case, the birthday boy couldn't eat it because it was a dam — East Brimfield Dam, which started operating in 1960 as one of several Quinebaug Valley flood control features built by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In this case, the dam flooded East Brimfield village, forcing the movement of homes and a cemetery and elimination of railroad lines, among other things. One of those moved was Sturbridge resident Ron Cantara, whose house moved uphill and who recalled riding his bike under the Route 20 causeway before it was flooded.

"It was quite an experience how they do that," he said. "It was fun at 12 years old to climb all over the trucks, with tires bigger than you are."

At that age, it was also fascinating — but not necessarily pleasant — to watch the crews dig up the cemetery.

"What an awful job that was — the smell and everything," he said. "It was really kind of a gory job."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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