by Pam Collins
What happens to people when they’re told their whole town has is to be destroyed to provide water for people 150 miles away?
Such was the fate of the town of Old Gilboa in Schoharie County at the turn of the 19th Century. Old Gilboa wasn’t just a church and country store with a few houses clustered around it, but a thriving community along the Schoharie Creek, with mills, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, a hippodrome and more. But when New York City was faced with building an expensive filtration system, or finding a new, fresh source of water, it looked north and Old Gilboa was doomed. That’s the facts as they’ve been recorded. What is harder to know is how it must have been for the people who had to give up their homes and their dreams, even the graves of their dead, all to be relocated elsewhere. All For Water: The Taking of Old Gilboa imagines the lives of the people who had to cope with such an unimaginable loss. From flight to a stubborn unwillingness to budge, people’s reactions reflected their personal dispositions. But when the town burns, they find the fortitude to reconstruct their dreams anew.
Pam Collins lived for fourteen years in Schoharie County, New York where her two children at tended the Gilboa School, nestled on the edge of the reservoir for which Old Gilboa was sacrificed. Collins now lives in Albany with her partner David where she continues to teach and write.