- Allison Goldsberry
Best-selling author Michael Tougias will visit the home town of Massachusetts Water Resource Authority Director Fred Laskey to speak about where Medford residents get their water, and the towns that were “drowned” many years ago.
Tougias, author of Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide, will present a narrated slide presentation about the Quabbin Reservoir at the Medford Public Library on Monday at 7:00PM. The program features the demise of the “lost towns” flooded to create the Quabbin, the construction of the massive reservoir, and how the Quabbin works today, according to Tougias. In addition Tougias will take the audience on a natural history tour of the Quabbin and surrounding area with suggestions for day trips.
Tougias’ slides include before and after images of the lost towns, workers building the dams and aqueduct, the grand opening of the reservoir, wildlife of the Quabbin, unique natural places, and favorite trails and entrance gates. Tougias also discusses three fascinating events from the region he calls “forgotten history” as well as a couple of surprise findings.
“The key for the audience is that I try to put them in the middle…using slides. They learn what happened and will ask themselves what would I have done. I don’t do an author reading, but instead narrate and use the slides to bring it all to life. I use the same approach with Quabbin. Some of the slides are really dramatic,” he said.
After his presentation there will be a question and answer session and Tougias will sign books.
When Quabbin was constructed in the late 1920’s and 1930’s, four towns “drowned,” 2,500 residents displaced, and 7,500 graves were moved. Today Quabbin Reservoir provides water for Boston and 45 other communities, serving over 2.5 million people. Quabbin and the surrounding forest is the largest tract of open space in southern New England, home to nesting loons and bald eagles, coyotes, porcupines, and moose.
“I first fell in love the solitude and the beauty of this special place,” said Tougias, who has been hiking and researching the Quabbin for over thirty years. “Later, the history captured my attention, and I set out to interview all the former residents of the lost towns I could locate. Although many were just children when the state took their towns, they have incredible stories of how this huge project changed so many lives. My book and this presentation is a way for me to share my passion for the area and encourage fellow explorers to visit this region of Massachusetts.”
Besides writing Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide, Tougias is the author and co-author of 19 other non-fiction books, including four books about true survival at sea stories: Overboard! Fatal Forecast, Ten Hours Until Dawn, and The Finest Hours.
Not all of his books are “death and survival stories.”
“There’s A Porcupine In the Outhouse: Misadventures of a Vermont Mountain Man Wannabe, is a true story of when I bought a remote cabin when I was 22. This book won the independent publishers association ‘best nature book of the year,’” he said.
Tougias’ latest book, The Finest Hours, co-written with Casey Sherman, is about “the Coast Guards greatest rescue,” which happened in 1952 off Cape Cod. The book is being turned into a movie by Disney.
“Dorothy Aufiero is a producer from the Boston area who presented the story to Disney, and they decided it’s an inspiring story perfect for a movie. The screenplay has been written and casting will begin soon. What a great feeling for this writer who has been plugging away for over 30 years working on books!” Said Tougias in an email.
Tougias presents slide presentations on the topics covered in all his books, and is a dynamic speaker who often attracts large crowds. He has spoken at the Medford Public Library five times, with his most recent presentation about his book Overboard.
Visit his website at www.michaeltougias.com or write PO Box 72, Norfolk MA 02056.
When not writing or exploring Tougias donates his time to protecting open space, he said.