Paterson Great Falls | National Park Foundation

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is home to one of the nation’s largest waterfalls. The Great Falls of the Passaic River and the surrounding historic buildings and raceways are the foundation for stories of Alexander Hamilton, the Industrial Revolution, the labor movement, and the important contributions of immigrants to the making of America.  

Hamilton envisioned Paterson, with its waterpower provided by the Great Falls of the Passaic River, as America’s counterpart and response to the English industrial revolution. 

Today, immigrants still settle down in Paterson to pursue their versions of Hamilton’s vision—creating a diverse and vibrant culture. The history of the City of Paterson includes its beginnings as the ambitious project of Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers (S.U.M.), the early development of water power systems for industrial use, and the various types of manufacturing that occurred in the District’s mills into the 20th Century. These included cotton fabrics, railroad locomotives, textile machinery, jute, and silk spinning, weaving, and dyeing, among many others.  


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