DescriptionHarnessing the potential water power of the Great Falls of the Passaic River, which can be viewed at McBride Avenue and Spruce Street, inspired statesman and economist Alexander Hamilton to organize the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.) and to plan Paterson as the new nation's first industrial city.
Pierre L'Enfant, planner of Washington, D.C., submitted the original design for a raceway to harness the falls and supply water power to the city's mills. Deemed too expansive and time consuming by investors who wanted a quicker return on their investment, L'Enfant's design was shelved in favor of a more workable recovery system designed by Peter Colt.
A section of the restored upper raceway parallels a section of Spruce Street. In the Old Gun Mill, at Van Houten and Mill streets, Samuel Colt created the first successful repeating revolver, and John Ryle launched the silk industry for which the city became well-known. Parts of this old industrial area are being preserved as part of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, where restorations on Mill and Van Houten streets are forerunners of an ongoing effort to encourage adaptive re-use of the old mills. The Welcome Center, 65 McBride Ave., features exhibits and video presentations from mid-May through November; phone (862) 257-3709.
InfoOfficeGreater Paterson Chamber of Commerce 100 Hamilton Plaza Suite 1201 PATERSON, NJ 07505. Phone:(973)881-7300
Self-guiding toursA brochure outlining a walking and/or driving tour as well as information and appointments for guided walking tours can be obtained at Great Falls Historic District Cultural Center, 65 McBride Ave., Paterson, NJ 07501; phone (973) 279-9587.
Attraction PlaceHoldersLambert Castle Museum