Quequechan River

Quequechan River

The Quequechan River (pronounced "Quick-a-shan" by locals), also known as the Quiquechan River, is a river in Fall River, Massachusetts that flows northwest to connect the South Watuppa Pond to the Taunton River. The name means "Falling River" in Wampanoag, hence the town's name.

The river is approximately 2 miles long, and mostly placid, until it nears downtown Fall River, where a quickly declining grade causes it to turn rapid. The river would enable Fall River to establish itself during the 19th Century as a leading textile center. The river used to have a spectacular waterfall right before it entered into the Taunton River, but the building of the Braga Bridge and Interstate 195 in the 1960's caused the river to be diverted through pipes for more than half its length. Sections can still be spotted above ground, most notably the placid sections in the vicinity of Interstate 195 just after the Government Center.

Geography

South Watuppa Pond breaks out of its bed through the Quequechan River, which falls to a channel leading to what is now Battleship Cove on the Taunton River. The Quequechan originally flowed unconfined over an almost level course for more than a mile. In the last half-mile (800 m) of its progress it rushes down the hillside in a narrow, precipitous, rocky channel, creating the falls for which Fall River is named. In this distance the total fall is about 132 feet (40 m). and the volume of water 122 cubic feet per second (3.5 m³/s).

History/Future

A series of waterfalls on the Quequechan were located between Pocasset and Central Streets where Interstate 195 is now located. This originally attractive feature of the landscape has seldom been visible since it was covered over by cotton mills in the 19th century. Having become an underground feature of the industrial landscape, it also became a sewer. In the 20th century the mills were abandoned and some of them burned, exposing the falls once more. Subsequently they went underground during the construction of Route 195 in the 1960's, which crosses the Taunton River at the nearby Braga Bridge adjacent to Battleship Cove. Today, the falls can only be seen near two small dams on either side of the former Number 7 Mill of the American Printing Company and near the Metacomet Mill, on Pocasset Street. Currently the citizens of Fall River are enthusiastically working on a project to "daylight" the falls, restore or recreate them, and build a green belt with a bicycle path along the Quequechan River.

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