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 Paterson Great Falls National Historical 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 beginning in 1792 as the ambitious project of Alexander Hamilton and the 1791 "Society for Establishing Usefull Manufacturers" (S.U.M.) 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, firearm manufacturing, textile machinery, jute and silk spinning, weaving, and dyeing, and brewing, among many others.
A core aspect of the Paterson experiment was the relationship between industry and labor. Patersonians were some of the first in the nation to engage in strike actions to fight for better hours, wages, and working conditions - from the 1835 children's "Baby Strike" through the Great 1913 Silk Strike to continued activism today, Patersonians helped create our modern relationship to work.
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: February 25, 2023