The weird thing about the Ashokan Reservoir is that some of my people use to live in a town formerly located where it rests today.  They were forced to leave their land and the beautiful farm and gristmill they owned to make room for the reservoir that was needed to provide drinking water for the other half of my family who came to New York from Ireland with the thirsty multitude that descended here in an enormous wave.

I knew my great grandmother, Bessie Bishop Davis, and I can tell you she never got over the loss. She was 98 when she died, and was still pissed that they “stole her home”.  So, how can a place that holds this much grief be a place that provides an equal measure of peace and inspiration to so many people?  There’s more to it than the ever changing aesthetic hit of mountain, water and sky. I think the story, itself an elegy, lays a thick layer of beauty-born-of-tragedy on this place, and I’m sure that’s the real thing that people respond to when they visit the Ashokan Reservoir.

Kate McGloughlin
April 2011