Connecticut, longest river in New England, 407 mi (655 km) long, rising in the Connecticut Lakes, N N.H., near the Quebec border, and flowing S along the Vt.-N.H. line, then across Mass. and Conn. to enter Long Island Sound at Old Saybrook, Conn.; drains c.11,000 sq mi (28,500 sq km). Holyoke Falls, at 57 ft (17 m), is the highest of many falls and rapids. The river is navigable to Hartford, Conn. The Connecticut Valley is one of the best agricultural regions in New England. World-famous cigar binder and wrapper tobacco are grown in the lower part of the valley; truck farming and dairying are also important. The Connecticut's water power led to the rise of industrial cities along the river in the 19th cent., and the valley became a manufacturing region; large centers include Holyoke and Springfield, Mass., and Windsor, Conn. Several hydroelectric and nuclear facilities also lie along the river. After severe 1953 floods, the Connecticut River Flood Control Compact was established to sponsor flood-control measures on the river.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.