Summer 2009 | Volume 59, Issue 2
More than 200 years ago, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton witnessed the power of the Passaic River crashing over falls in northern New Jersey and saw America’s economic future. He founded Paterson, which quickly turned into a manufacturing powerhouse, “a place of supreme importance in the annals of American economic history,” notes historian Ron Chernow. Paterson’s river-powered mills ran factories that produced the first mildew-resistant cotton sailcloth, the first Colt revolvers, the first motorized submarine, more locomotives than any other American city, and a greater amount of silk than any other place in the world.
On March 30, President Obama signed an omnibus parks and historic preservation bill that created the 118-acre Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, the third New Jersey historic park after Morristown, where the Continental Army camped during 1779–80, and the West Orange estate of Thomas Edison.