Charles River

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The Charles River is an 80 mi (129 km) long river that flows in an overall northeasterly direction in eastern Massachusetts, USA. From its source in Hopkinton, the river travels through 22 cities and towns until reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston. It is also sometimes called the River Charles.



The Charles River is fed by about 80 brooks and streams and several major aquifers as it flows snakelike for 80 miles (129 km),[1] starting at Echo Lake (42°11′35″N 71°30′43″W / 42.193012°N 71.5119°W / 42.193012; -71.5119) in Hopkinton, through 22 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts before emptying into Boston Harbor. 33 lakes and ponds, and 35 communities are entirely or partially part of the Charles River watershed. Despite the river's length and relatively large drainage area (308 square miles; 798 km²), its source is only 26 miles (42 km) from its mouth, and the river drops only 350 feet (107 m) from source to sea. It is the most densely populated river basin in New England.[citation needed]

Brandeis University, Harvard University, Boston University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are all located along the Charles River. Near its mouth, it forms the border between downtown Boston and Cambridge and Charlestown (a neighborhood of Boston). Here, the river opens out into a broad basin and is lined by the parks of the Charles River Reservation. On the Charles River Esplanade stands the Hatch Shell, where concerts are given in summer evenings. The basin is especially known for its Independence Day celebration. The middle section of the river, between the Watertown Dam and Wellesley is partially protected by the properties of the Upper Charles River Reservation and other state parks, including the Hemlock Gorge Reservation, Cutler Park, and the Elm Bank Reservation.

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