The Real Story of How Fall River Got Its Name
If you know the SouthCoast, you know the streets of Fall River. You know about Battleship Cove, and you know the ins and outs of the city. But have you ever wondered how Fall River got its name?
Don’t worry, I did the research for you, and it turns out it actually has to do with a body of water. But prior to that, the town was just a guy’s name.
Author Henry M. Fenner literally wrote the book on The History of Fall River and unveiled how the area came to be known as such. It turns out that after the Revolutionary war, Freetown’s population increased greatly, leaving southern residents reaching an identity crisis and wanting to be a separate entity. The “southerners” were seafarers and tradesmen with little to no need for horses, which made it quite difficult to attend town meetings.
“…owing to the long swamp which ran through the center of the town, no location for a townhouse equally convenient for all was possible,” said Fenner.
In 1803, the southerners got their wish. Fallriver was born. One word, not two. But the people were still not satisfied. Those who did not live near the stream that inspired the name and ran through the area were not on board with it, so in 1804, Fallriver became Troy.
It’s almost as if a townsperson picked that name out of a hat, but in reality, the town of Troy, New York made a lasting impression on a resident, they suggested the name, and it stuck for the next 30 years.
In 1834, Fenner explained how they ran into an issue on two accounts: “The village where most of the business was transacted was known as Fall River and the other that there was constant confusion in mail owing to the fact that there were other towns named Troy.”
Basically, this SouthCoast town was way too confusing. So they went back to the simpler name and added a space for good measure. It later was nicknamed "The Spindle City" for all of its mills and manufacturing.
Fall River started with a mere 1,000 residents and now boasts a population of over 89,000 with an eclectic culture and rich history. If you are from Fall River, you can thank the southern seafarers and tradesmen, and a little bit of mail delivery confusion for the name of the 10th-largest city in the state.