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Posted on: April 26, 2016

Paterson Great Falls, one of the top National Parks in NJ

With the Passaic River plummeting 77 feet at Paterson Great Falls National Park, the waterfall here is the second largest after Niagara Falls, east of the Mississippi River. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton took one look at this powerful source of energy and chose the site for the nation’s first planned industrial city in 1791. Hamilton hired Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who laid out Washington DC, to build a system of canals, called raceways, that helped power the new mills in Northern New Jersey. Today the 52-acre park is a mix of nature and industrial ruin (7 acres), and holds a museum documenting what products were made in this industrial center. “Paterson is Exhibit A on where we declared economic independence,” says the park’s superintendent Darren Boch. It was here that Hamilton set out to turn a nascent country from agrarianism dependent on slave labor to industrialism. Among the innovations that came from industry here were the first true submarine, the first Colt pistols, and more than half the locomotives and silk products made at the time. A statue of Hamilton is at the park’s section called Overlook Park, where a new viewing platform opened last August to provide a great view over the mighty falls.

On August 26 Passaic County Community College will host a day of dance, music and poetry in the park. The following day, August 27, you can join scientists and other citizens a BioBlitz — a nationwide effort to document and count all the flora, fauna and living creatures in parks.


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