Amoskeag Falls is a 50-foot waterfall that consists of several cascades in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Amoskeag Falls used to roar and could be heard for miles during the spring when melting snow from the White Mountains and the Lakes Region would flow into the Merrimack River. The falls were a very important spot for Native Americans because there were plentiful migrating sturgeon, alewife, and salmon which could be fished in the rapids. Natives used a mixture of enormous nets placed across the river to catch fish. Near the falls, there were significant native communities, particularly on the steep cliffs overlooking the river’s east side. The word “Amoskeag” actually derives from the Pennacook word “Namoskeag” which translates to “good fishing place.
Samuel Blodgett developed a canal and lock system on the river in 1807 to aid vessels in navigating around the falls, allowing the area to grow. Amoskeag Manufacturing was founded in 1831 by a group of affluent Bostonians who constructed the mills in Lowell and Waltham and began expanding the east side of the river. On a 15,000-acre plot, they built a mile of textile mills, the world’s largest manufacturing factory, as well as churches, parks, and six blocks of boarding homes.
The Amoskeag Mills was producing enough textiles per day to extend 471 miles by 1912. Amoskeag provided the fabric for the original Levis pants as well as Civil War uniforms. Until 1880, the mills were entirely powered by water. By 1896, electricity had become the primary source of energy. In 1922, the mills were hit by a nine-month strike, followed by another in 1934. Amoskeag Manufacturing fell bankrupt in 1935 due to the advent of rayon and the Great Depression. The Amoskeag Dam was eventually sold to the Public Service Company of New Hampshire and currently produces enough electricity to power 1,200 to 1,600 residences.
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- Height: 50 feet
- Type: Dam
- Water source: Merrimack River
- Swimming: Prohibited and/or not possible