It was just over a year ago that Paterson’s famed Great Falls were designated as America’s 397th national park. The honor recognizes the sweeping impact of industrial innovations that took shape here on the banks of the Passaic River.
“Paterson was America’s first planned industrial city,” explains Mayor Jeffery Jones. “The mills this river powered gave birth to American manufacturing and helped us achieve economic independence from England.”
Visitors to the national park can view the Great Falls—the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi—and learn how the mills here grew and prospered, powered by water channeled through an ingenious system of raceways.
“The park offers you a rare chance to take in a landmark of striking natural beauty and a site of great historical significance all in one destination,” says Darren Boch, the park’s first superintendent and a native of Paterson.The national park is about to launch ranger-led tours and has made progress beautifying the landscape, welcoming school groups, and launching a Junior Ranger program—but much remains to be done. “We are working with members of the community now to shape a long-term vision for the park,” explains Boch. “We see many exciting possibilities on the horizon, and we are developing a plan now that will guide our progress over the next 15 to 20 years.”
To learn more, visit the park’s website.