Nashua River History

Important events surrounding the history of the Nashua River in Massachusetts.


Native American peoples came to the river

Approx. 5,000 BC - Approx. 2,014

Nashua native people of the Pennacook tribes settled here

Approx. 1,400 - Approx. 1,700

First Colonial Settlements in New England

Approx. 1,600 - Approx. 1,700

Indian settlements devastated by smallpox

1617 - 1618

Massachusetts Bay Colony formed

1628 - Approx. 1675

King Phillip's War - Native rebellion (Metacomet)

1675 - 1676

Declaration of Independence


Indian Removal Act


Wave of Immigants

1848 - 1860

Wave of immigrants come from Europe, many work in factories.

Industries develop along Nashua River


Paper manufacture, textiles, and shoe products become the prevalent industries on the river.

Wachusett Dam is built


Largest dam on the Nashua River - the Wachusett Dam in Clinton - was built to provide Boston with water.

Manufacture of Bakelite begins plastic age


Marion Stoddart organizes the Nashua River Cleanup Committee


Marion Stoddart organizes the Nashua River Cleanup Committee, and the city of Leominster gets permission from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to dump 150 million gallons of raw sewage per day into the Nashua River.

U.S. Congress passes Clean Water Act


U.S. Congress passes Clean Water Act, paper companies along the Nashua River join together to build a treatment plant, and 400-500 youths work for five months to clear trash from Nashua's riverbed and banks.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is formed


U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) is formed, and Federal Clean Water Act states that all U.S. waters be fishable and swimmable by 1983.

Fish, bald eagles, great blue herons return to the Nashua River