History & Culture
The history of the City of Paterson includes its beginnings as the ambitious project of Alexander Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers (S.U.M.) in 1792 at the Great Falls, 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.
The Great Falls also represents compelling stories of the lives of immigrants who labored in the mills, those who owned and operated manufacturing concerns and became wealthy, and the quest of laborers and the labor movement for better working conditions and pay. Immigrants still settle today in Paterson to pursue their versions of Hamilton's vision, creating a diverse and vibrant culture.
The story of Catholina Lambert, a prominent Paterson silk mill owner in the late 1800's, ties heavily into the story of the citys well known textile industry. Today, Lambert's local home,Lambert Castle, is open for touring under the management of the Paterson County Historical Society.
Last updated: May 17, 2018