Quinebaug River

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Quinebaug River
CountryUnited States
StateConnecticut, Massachusetts
CountiesNew London, CT, Windham, CT, Worcester, MA, Hampden, MA
Physical characteristics
SourceHolland Pond 42°04′55″N 72°09′49″W / 42.082071°N 72.163666°W / 42.082071; -72.163666
 • locationHolland, Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States
 • elevation645 ft (197 m)
MouthEmpties into Shetucket River 41°33′22″N 72°02′46″W / 41.556°N 72.046°W / 41.556; -72.046
 • location
Preston and Lisbon, New London County, Connecticut, United States
 • elevation
30 ft (9.1 m)
 • locationJewett City, CT
 • average467 cu ft/s (13.2 m3/s)Average, 1920-2009
 • minimum40 cu ft/s (1.1 m3/s)Annual mean, 1931
 • maximum2,640 cu ft/s (75 m3/s)Annual mean, 1938
Basin features
 • leftFrench River
Quinebaug River and environs
Quinebaug River in Canterbury, CT

The Quinebaug River is a river in south-central Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut, with watershed extending into western Rhode Island. The name "Quinebaug" comes from the southern New England Native American term, spelled variously Qunnubbâgge, Quinibauge, etc., meaning "long pond", from qunni-, "long", and -paug, "pond".[1] The river is one of the namesake rivers in the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor.


The river is about 69 miles (111 km) in length.[2] It originates from East Brimfield Lake and ponds northwest of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, flows generally southeast and south through Connecticut (Putnam, Danielson, Plainfield, Canterbury and Jewett City), the river joins Aspinook pond which begins in Canterbury and ends in Jewett City. The river then continues to the Shetucket River northeast of Norwich. That river flows from there into the Thames River and drains into the Long Island Sound. It is dammed in its upper reaches at East Brimfield Dam, Westville Dam, and West Thompson Lake all for flood control, as well as numerous mill dams which powered mills along the river's course. Some of these still provide hydroelectric power today.


The Quinebaug River watershed covers 850 square miles (2,200 km2), and extends into western Rhode Island. It is heavily forested with 29 named streams including six major tributaries (the French, Moosup and Five Mile Rivers, and the Wales, Mill and Cady brooks). The watershed also contains 54 lakes and ponds, 31 of which with an area of 10 acres (40,000 m2) or more, for a total of about 3,000 acres (12 km2; 5 sq mi); the largest is East Brimfield Reservoir in Brimfield and Sturbridge, 420 acres (1.7 km2) in area. The watershed is home to fish species including trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, and panfish. Elevations range from 1,264 feet (385 m) above sea level on Mount Pisgah in Wales, Massachusetts, to about 25 ft (7.6 m) in Norwich, Connecticut.


State County Town Carries Built
CT New London Lisbon and Griswold Providence and Worcester Railroad
I-395 (Connecticut Turnpike) 1956
Route 12/Route 138
Silvandale Road crossing (abandoned)
Windham Canterbury Providence and Worcester Railroad
Butts Bridge Road
Canterbury and Plainfield Route 14
Brooklyn and Plainfield Route 205
Brooklyn and Killingly US 6
Pomfret and Killingly Route 101
Cotton Bridge Road
Putnam Landfill access bridge (private) 1999
Technology Park Drive 2015
Airline Rail Trail
US 44 1925
Bridge Street 1958
Route 171 1988
Thompson West Thompson Road 1964
Blain Road (bridge removed)
Red Bridge Road 1964
Brickyard Road 1964
Fabyan Road 1999
Route 197
MA Worcester Dudley Route 131
Southbridge Branch RR (abandoned)
West Dudley Road
Southbridge East Main Street
AO Factory Road (private)
AO Factory Pedestrian Bridge (private)
AO Factory Pedestrian Bridge (private)
AO Factory Pedestrian Bridge (private)
Pipeline crossing
Business Park Road (Private)
Route 169 1956
Central Street
River Street
Mill Street 1956
Route 131
Sturbridge and Southbridge Westville Dam service road 2003
Breakneck Road/Wallace Road 1956
Sturbridge Old Mashapaug Road 1956
Grand Trunk Rail Trail 2002
Farquhar Road 1939
Haynes Street 1961
I-84 1971
Old Sturbridge Village Road 1972
OSV Pedestrian Bridge (Private)
OSV Covered Bridge (Private)
Stallion Hill Road 1956
Holland Road 1956
Hampden Brimfield Holland-East Brimfield Road 1958
Holland Morse Road (closed) 1939
Pond Bridge Road 1934

Paddling the river[edit]

Three sections of the Quinebaug River have been designated National Recreation Trails by the National Park Service, some of the first water trails to receive this designation. The sections are: Holland Pond to East Brimfield Reservoir (in Holland and Brimfield, Massachusetts), Paper Mill Dam in Dudley to West Thompson Lake, and Simonzi Park in Putnam to Aspinook Pond in Canterbury. The East Coast Greenway runs along the river in some spots.

Canoe/kayak launch sites are located at the following locations:

  • Pond Bridge Road, Holland
  • US Route 20 boat ramp, Brimfield
  • Old Mashapaug Road, Sturbridge
  • West Dudley Road, Dudley
  • Fabyan Road, Thompson
  • West Thompson Lake boat ramp, Thompson
  • Simonzi Park on Kennedy Drive, Putnam
  • Route 101, Pomfret
  • Riverside Park off Day Street, Brooklyn
  • Town Park off Route 12, Killingly
  • Quinebaug Trout Hatchery, Plainfield
  • Robert Manship Park off Route 14, Canterbury
  • Butts Bridge Road, Canterbury


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 405. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 1, 2011

External links[edit]