People, Places, & Plans - History & Culture
Paterson Great Falls is defined by the eponymous waterfall, but it's more than that. As a National Historical Park, the stories of Paterson's people and places are preserved and protected for exploration and education. Check out the topics below to explore Paterson's rich history and culture:
Historic Resource Study
The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Organization of American Historians, has released the long-anticipated Historic Resource Study (HRS) of the park, “An Incorporation of the Adventurers”: A History of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, Paterson “Silk City” and its People, and the Passaic Great Falls.
The history of the City of Paterson includes its beginnings as the ambitious project of Alexander Hamilton and the "Society for Establishing Usefull 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.
Paterson came into fruition with the help of immigrants. The city's founder, Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant himself who made it his mission to live out his American dream. Paterson's culture and diversity comes from the many dedicated workers who helped build up the area - 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.
When families immigrated to Paterson they brought with them their unique cultural identities. People came from all walks of life, and with their diverse backgrounds it only helped to grow Paterson's distinct personality.
Last updated: January 28, 2023