Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Great Falls

Paterson, N.J.
Home of Allen Ginsberg.
And Lou Costello.
And William Carlos Williams.
And Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
Cradle of the Industrial Revolution in America.
Birthplace of Samuel Colt's revolver, the Colt Paterson.

The city was planned by Alexander Hamilton in the 18th century. The idea was to harness the tremendous water power of the Passaic River, which courses through the city, to run the mills and other industrial equipment.
It's the Passaic River that spills over the Great Falls, the second-largest waterfall on the East Coast (after Niagara Falls) and Paterson's premier attraction.
The city's decline began several decades ago. Most of the industry -- primarily textile mills -- left town long ago.

A restoration of Paterson's historic district, centering on the 19th-century industrial neighborhood around the Great Falls, began within the last several years. City and Passaic County officials are trying to persuade the federal government to turn this area into a national park.

But the Great Falls have transcended the city's rise and fall, the boom times and the urban decay.
I've been to the falls during dry summers when the flow over the cliffs is barely a trickle.
On Saturday, the falls were a torrent thanks to recent rains.
This is one of my favorite spots in my neck of the woods.


LBseahag said...

Thank you for taking us on this journey...and I learned something!

Michael said...