Quinebaug River

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Quinebaug River
Quinebaug River Thompson CT.jpg
The river in Thompson, CT
Country United States
States Connecticut, Massachusetts
Counties Windham, New London, Worcester, Hampden, Tolland
 - left French River
Source East Brimfield Lake

42°06′30″N 72°07′35″W / 42.108304°N 72.126399°W / 42.108304; -72.126399

 - location Sturbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
 - elevation 645 ft (197 m)
Mouth Empties 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, USA
 - elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Discharge for Jewett City, CT
 - average 467 cu ft/s (13 m3/s)
 - max 2,640 cu ft/s (75 m3/s) Annual mean, 1938
 - min 40 cu ft/s (1 m3/s) Annual mean, 1931
Quinebaug River and environs

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 Dam 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); the largest is East Brimfield Reservoir in Brimfield and Sturbridge (420 acres (1.7 km2)). 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.


Carries Location Built
I-395.svg I-395 (Connecticut Turnpike) Lisbon and Griswold 1956
Providence and Worcester Railroad
Connecticut Highway 12.svgConnecticut Highway 138.svg Route 12/Route 138
Silvandale Road crossing (abandoned, bridge removed)
Providence and Worcester Railroad Canterbury
Butts Bridge Road
Connecticut Highway 14.svg Route 14 Canterbury and Plainfield
Connecticut Highway 205.svg Route 205 Brooklyn and Plainfield
US 6.svg US 6 Brooklyn and Killingly
Connecticut Highway 101.svg Route 101 Pomfret and Killingly
Cotton Bridge Road
Landfill access bridge (private) Putnam
Airline Rail Trail
US 44.svg US 44
Bridge Street
Connecticut Highway 171.svg Route 171
West Thompson Road Thompson 1964
Blain Road (bridge removed)
Red Bridge Road 1964
Brickyard Road 1964
Fabyan Road 1999
Connecticut Highway 197.svg Route 197
MA Route 131.svg Route 131 Dudley
Southbridge Branch RR (abandoned)
West Dudley Road
East Main Street Southbridge
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)
MA Route 169.svg Route 169 1956
Central Street
River Street
Mill Street 1956
MA Route 131.svg Route 131
Westville Dam service road Sturbridge and Southbridge 2003
Breakneck Road/Wallace Road 1956
Old Mashapaug Road Sturbridge 1956
Grand Trunk Rail Trail 2002
Farquhar Road 1939
Haynes Street 1961
I-84.svg I-84 1971
Old Sturbridge Village Road 1972
OSV Pedestrian Bridge (Private)
OSV Covered Bridge (Private)
Stallion Hill Road 1956
Holland Road 1956
Holland-East Brimfield Road Brimfield 1958
Morse Road (closed) Holland 1939
Pond Bridge Road 1934
East Brimfield Road 1958
Potterdam Road (private)
Sturbridge Road 1939
Mashapaug Road
Holland Road Union 1954
I-84.svg I-84
Buckley Highway 1954
Mashapaug Pond Dam

Paddling the River[edit]

Three sections of the Quinebaug River have been designated as a National Recreation Trail by the National Park Service, 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 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed April 1, 2011