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First known as Salmon Falls for the salmon and shad found there, the falls were an important food source for the Native Americans and European communities in the region. During the late 18th century the falls were dammed, increasing the power potential of the water and stimulating the growth of industry. The potholes that lie below the dam began forming 14,000 years ago. During the ice age, a giant lake that is now referred to as Lake Hitchcock covered the area. Once this drained, the Deerfield River was formed. The water's action eroded the rock and formed these potholes.