Fall River, Massachusetts is located at the mouth of the Quequechan River in Bristol County at 41.7° north and 71.1° west. The city has a current population of about 92000. It is known as "The Spindle City" because of it's strong association with the textile industry.
The area around Fall River was originally the home of the Wampanoag tribe. They called the area "Quequechan", which means "falling water." Settlers from the Plymouth Colony purchased the land around Fall River in 1659. The Wampanoag tribe was then driven out of the area during the King Philip's War of 1675. The land was soon settled by people from Rhode Island and Boston. The mouth of the Quequechan River was very deep, and settlers soon built a harbor.
The first cotton mill was built along the river in 1811. Two years later, a larger mill was constructed, and the Industrial Revolution began to hit Fall River. By 1830, the area had seven cotton mills, and a population of about 4000. By 1870, 18 new mills had opened, and Fall River was the "Textile Capitol of the United States.
Immigrants, drawn by the ample job opportunities, flooded the area. They came from all over Europe and the Middle East, with the largest population coming from Portugal and the Azores. By 1900, Fall River had the highest percentage of foreign-born residents than any other city in the nation.
Fall River retained a robust economy well into the 20th Century. However, the economy was built entirely on the textile industry, with most people in town working for these companies. When the great depression struck Fall River, the factories left to find a cheaper workforce in the south, and the local economy imploded.
Industry has started to return to Fall River. This is in part due to the help of locals who volunteer to who try to lure companies to Fall River. Also, the state of Massachusetts has designated Fall River an Economic Target Area, allowing tax breaks to be offered to new businesses. In the 160-arce Fall River Industrial Park (formerly the municipal airport), 50 companies now employ 3500 local residents. A very large factory outlet mall is located in Fall River, which also employs many of the residents.
Tourism has also become big business in Fall River. The city is in the middle of its "Harbor Project" which will completely rehabilitate the city waterfront and downtown. Plans call for a large hotel, a new performing arts center at the state pier, reconstruction and beautification of several streets, and the construction of the largest boardwalk in Massachusetts outside of Boston. Battleship Cove, which is the home of 10 ships including the USS Massachusetts, also draws visitors to Fall River.
On a darker note, Fall River was home to the Borden family, and their daughter Lizzie.
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