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photo: Firoz Ansari

Why go there?

The Great Falls of the Passaic River is a prominent waterfall, 77 feet high, on the Passaic River in the city of Paterson, NJ. One of the United States' largest waterfalls, it played a significant role in the early industrial development of New Jersey and one of the earliest manufacturing centers in America. In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and was impressed by its potential for industry. Later, when Hamilton was the nation's Secretary of Treasury, he selected the site of the nation's first planned industrial city, which he called a "national manufactory." In 1791, Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), a state-chartered private corporation. The company built a dam and diverted part of the river to create a millpond that supplied water power for factories. The success of Hamilton's vision helped establish Newark as a major center of industry and commerce. Today, the remains of the S.U.M. factory are part of the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.

About the Park

  • Historical

  • Self-guided tours

  • Guided tours

  • Waterfalls

  • Junior Ranger Program

  • Ranger programs

  • Special events

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    40°55'19.21"N, 74°10'30.35"W

    Paterson Great Falls NHP

    • New Jersey

    Paterson Great Falls | New Jersey's Hidden Gem!


    Jose Molina

    • Waterfalls

    • River trips

    • History

    • Landmarks

    • Lakes