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During this period, Fall River was governed by a three-member Board of Selectmen, until it became a City in 1854.
In 1653, Freetown was settled at Assonet Bay by members of the Plymouth Colony, as part of Freeman's Purchase, which included the northern part of what is now Fall River.
In 1683, Freetown was incorporated as a town within the colony.
Fall River is known for the Lizzie Borden case, Portuguese culture, its numerous 19th-century textile mills and Battleship Cove, the world's largest collection of World War II naval vessels and the home of the USS Massachusetts (BB-59).
Fall River is also the only city in the United States to have its city hall located over an interstate highway.
During the 18th century the area consisted mostly of small farms and relatively few inhabitants.