The Great Falls at Paterson, New Jersey

Great Falls of the Passaic River, Paterson, New Jersey (Engraving after a drawing made by Thomas Pownall in the 1750s)

In 1778, right in the middle of the American Revolution, Alexander Hamilton took George Washington to see the Great Falls of the Passaic River in northern New Jersey. There the river drops 77 feet in a torrent 280 feet wide. The visionary Hamilton saw in this watercourse a dream of plenty: cheap energy to build industry and free the nation from foreign markets.

Three years after the war, in 1791, Hamilton lined up a group of patriots, industrialists, and financiers to form the “Society for Establishing Usefull Manufactures,” otherwise known as the S.U.M. It was America’s first industrial community. The S.U.M. hired Pierre L’Enfant – the military engineer who laid out the plans for Washington, D.C. – to build the first raceway and harness the Passaic River’s energy.

L’Enfant came up with a plan involving a series of radiating roads and a grand aqueduct that would channel water to the mills. The aqueduct would span the ravine, wind around hills, be large enough for barge traffic, and have a towpath on one side and a carriageway on the other. By 1793, the S.U.M. was fed up with this ornate plan and fired L’Enfant, replacing him with Peter Colt (1744-1824). 

Colt had little engineering experience but great stores of common sense, which he had demonstrated during the war when he was Gen. Washington’s Quartermaster for Eastern Connecticut and also his occasional translator when French was needed. Colt had built a shipping business that traded with the West Indies and was serving as Treasurer of Connecticut when he got the call to Paterson. Colt simply dammed up the ravine at one end, creating a reservoir, and sent the water into a single raceway down the hillside to the site of the first water-powered mill.

As Superintendent of the S.U.M., Colt also helped found the city of Paterson. He settled there permanently some time after 1794.

His son Roswell Lyman Colt (1779-1856) joined the S.U.M. in 1814 and eventually spent decades as governor, overseeing many expansions and improvements to the power system. He helped his cousin Samuel Colt start up his first firearms factory, which later moved to Hartford. He married Margaret Oliver, with whom he had 14 children, and spent his life in Paterson, where he was known in some quarters as the “Great Colt.”

Energy from the Great Falls raceway and water power system fostered countless industrial innovations, including the Colt revolver, the Holland submarine, the Curtiss-Wright aircraft engine, and the textiles and silks that made Paterson famous as “Silk City.” The system remains a monument to the finest engineering, planning, and architectural works of the early United States.

Sources:

  • Fries, Russell I., “The Great Falls Raceway and Power System: National Historic Mechanical and Civil Engineering Landmark,” paper for the American Society of Civil Engineers, May 20, 1977.
  • Nelson, William & Shriner, Charles Anthony, History of Paterson and Its Environs (the Silk City): Historical- Genealogical – Biographical (Lewis Historical Publishing, 1920).

162 Replies to “The Great Falls at Paterson, New Jersey”

  1. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more
    of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  2. I have been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  3. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance.
    I must say that you’ve done a amazing job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super quick for
    me on Firefox. Exceptional Blog!

  4. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?

    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great images or
    video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this website could undeniably be one
    of the greatest in its field. Superb blog!

  5. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I believe that you should write more about this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people don’t speak
    about such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

  6. fantastic points altogether, you just gained a new reader.

    What may you recommend in regards to your post that you just made a few days in the past?
    Any certain?

  7. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I
    realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back often!

  8. Great article! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared around
    the internet. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this submit upper!
    Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thank you =)

  9. click
    click
    Drawback with a subscription? You can too cancel the
    subscription. You may require a password for purchases, forestall some varieties of purchases, or
    disable buying completely. Can Apple ship that
    “one thing else”? As per a study undertaken by analysis firm
    IDC it concludes that Android had 75% of the market share, compared to simply 14.9% for Apple as of Q3 in 2012.
    The android was nonetheless ahead of Apple in 2011
    as nicely with a 57.5% market share. Let’s try to offer it a direction & do a
    case examine. After the charge goes through, try to request a refund once more.
    When you have an unpaid order, that you must pay for that order earlier than you request a
    refund. You might need to update your fee info. I wasn’t in the
    midst of making an attempt to update Amphetamine or anything.
    Their earlier research found that extracts from entire apples can cut
    back the quantity and dimension of mammary tumors in rats.

    So do the latest Apple Television 4. But an increasing quantity of people nonetheless rush
    to purchase Apple Television. https://danquitreat.web.app/synchsikapamo.html

  10. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to
    work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  11. We’re a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.

    Your website provided us with helpful information to work on. You have performed an impressive
    activity and our entire group shall be grateful to you.

  12. You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

  13. Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these familiarity, so it’s nice
    to read this website, and I used to pay a quick visit
    this blog every day.

  14. Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my blog
    thus i came to return the desire?.I’m attempting to in finding
    things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to make
    use of some of your concepts!!

  15. First off I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself
    and clear your mind prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?

    Cheers!

  16. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your blog.
    It looks like some of the written text in your content are running off the screen.
    Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is
    happening to them too? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had
    this happen before. Kudos

  17. Hi there! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info
    you have got right here on this post. I am returning to your
    website for more soon.

    Look into my page … blog

  18. I was very pleased to uncover this website.
    I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!!
    I definitely savored every part of it and i also have
    you bookmarked to look at new stuff on your blog.

  19. obviously like your website however you have to check the spelling on several of your
    posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues
    and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come again again.

    Also visit my web page :: xxx

  20. I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading incredibly slow for
    me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my
    end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  21. I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind
    of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website.

    Studying this info So i am happy to exhibit that I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed.
    I such a lot no doubt will make certain to don?t overlook this
    website and provides it a look regularly.

  22. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but I
    was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha
    plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m
    having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Review my homepage; porn

  23. Right here is the right site for anyone who wishes to find out about this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not
    that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely
    put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for
    years. Excellent stuff, just great!

  24. continuously i used to read smaller articles or reviews which
    as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this
    paragraph which I am reading here.

    my blog post xxx – Melva,

  25. It is the best time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy.

    I’ve learn this post and if I may I wish to counsel you
    few attention-grabbing issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write subsequent articles
    relating to this article. I want to read more issues about it!

  26. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.

    I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will often come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a
    nice evening!

  27. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  28. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the
    screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with
    web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.

    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved
    soon. Thanks

    Also visit my web page :: news

  29. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some
    stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send
    me an e mail.

  30. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a
    top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

    Here is my web page :: porno

  31. Thank you for some other informative website.
    The place else may just I am getting that type of information written in such a perfect manner?

    I’ve a challenge that I’m just now running on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such
    info.

  32. I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can not to find your email subscription link
    or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me recognize so
    that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  33. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking
    to exchange solutions with other folks, please shoot me an email if
    interested.

  34. hello!,I love your writing so so much! proportion we be in contact more approximately your post on AOL?
    I need an expert in this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you!

    Having a look ahead to see you.

  35. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how
    could i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account helped me a applicable deal.
    I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered brilliant clear concept

  36. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful information specifically the ultimate section :
    ) I handle such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for
    a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  37. obviously like your web-site however you
    have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I’ll certainly come again again.

  38. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and
    I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice practices and we are
    looking to exchange methods with other folks, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

  39. I just like the helpful information you provide
    in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and test
    once more here regularly. I am moderately certain I’ll be informed
    a lot of new stuff proper right here! Good luck for the following!

  40. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post
    is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about
    my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  41. That is very interesting, You are a very professional blogger.

    I have joined your feed and stay up for in search of extra of your wonderful post.
    Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks

  42. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to
    do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d
    post to let you know. The design look great though!

    Hope you get the problem solved soon. Kudos

  43. I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i am glad reading your article.
    But should remark on few general things, The website
    style is perfect, the articles is really great : D.
    Good job, cheers

  44. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot
    of the information you provide here. Please let me know if
    this ok with you. Regards!

  45. Howdy terrific blog! Does running a blog such as this require a lot of work?
    I’ve absolutely no knowledge of programming but
    I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyways, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off subject however I just needed to
    ask. Many thanks!

  46. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we
    are looking to swap strategies with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  47. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism
    or copyright violation? My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but
    it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from
    being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    Also visit my web page – situs judi slot online

  48. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this
    information for my mission.

  49. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your
    post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Would
    you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you
    write regarding here. Again, awesome website!

  50. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future
    and it is time to be happy. I have learn this put up
    and if I may I want to counsel you some fascinating things or
    advice. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles relating to this article.
    I desire to read even more issues approximately it!

  51. hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here.

    I did however expertise some technical issues using this website,
    since I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement
    in google and could damage your quality score if
    advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m
    adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon. https://www.sbnation.com/users/binsabri

  52. Hey there! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent
    info you have got here on this post. I am returning to your web site
    for more soon.

    Feel free to visit my web page – xxx

  53. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after browsing
    through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me.

    Regardless, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  54. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site
    is magnificent, as well as the content!

  55. When someone writes an article he/she maintains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be
    aware of it. Thus that’s why this piece of writing is perfect.
    Thanks!

  56. May I simply say what a relief to uncover someone who truly understands what they are discussing over the
    internet. You actually understand how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. A lot more people should
    check this out and understand this side of your
    story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular because you most
    certainly have the gift.

  57. Can I just say what a relief to discover a person that actually knows what they’re discussing online.
    You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of
    your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you certainly
    have the gift.

  58. I think this is among the most significant info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark
    on few general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.