Most visitors to Fall River today never link the name of the city to waterfalls mostly because one has to hunt to find the falls.
The Quequechan River, nearly 3 miles long, (pronounced “Quick-a-shan” by natives), is the river that flows in a northwesterly direction from the South Watuppa Pond to the Taunton River. The word Quequechan means “falling water” in Wampanoag, which is the origin of the city’s name. At one time, there were eight falls between the Taunton River and where South Main St. is today.
When route 195 was built running beneath Government Center during the 1960’s, much of the river west of Plymouth Avenue was re-routed by a series of box culverts. It takes a careful eye to spot the few places in the city where a glimpse of the old Quequechan can still be seen. There is a small view at Hartwell and Fourth streets.
The most impressive view can be found on Anawan Street near the Work Out World gym where a section of surging river sweeps beneath a granite arch and then plunges down on the other side. With the Spring rain and melted snow swelling the river, April is the time to see the falls in their glory, flanked by enormous growths of pussey willows on the banks. It’s easy to imagine how the force of the falling water and coursing river was a boon to powering the great mills long ago. (video by Chris Striker Bound, April 1, 2011).
(wild pussey willows, photos by Chris Striker Bound)