Paterson Great Falls, Passaic County, New Jersey

The Great Falls of Paterson, New Jersey is a 77-foot high waterfall on the Passaic River. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1976, and elevated to a National Historical Park in 2009.

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Among waterfalls east of the Mississippi, many are taller, but in terms of width and volume the Great Falls of Paterson is said to be second only to Niagara. Alexander Hamilton recognized the waterfall could be used for industry, and canals were dug allowing the falling water to power watermills, which were used for producing cotton, paper, and mechanical devices and machinery.

In 1914, a hydroelectric plant opened, together with an auxiliary coal-fired steam plant that produced electricity when water levels were low. The steam plant was demolished in 1960, but the hydroelectric plant remains. It ceased operation in 1969, but was refurbished with new turbines and controls and resumed operation in 1986. The plant can supply power to 11,000 homes.

Here is the view from Haines Overlook Park, with the hydroelectric plant at left and the Falls at right. Note the footbridge over the Falls gorge:

Paterson Great Falls, from Haines Overlook Park

Paterson Great Falls, from Haines Overlook Park

Zooming to a closer shot:

Paterson Great Falls, from Haines Overlook Park

Paterson Great Falls, from Haines Overlook Park

An 1871 bell from Troy Bell Foundry. I don’t know what the connection is to the Falls:

1871 Bell from Troy Bell Foundry, at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

1871 Bell from Troy Bell Foundry, at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Sign providing a map and description of the park:

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

The view of the falls from the footbridge over the Falls gorge:

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Video from the footbridge:

Many people are not aware that there is such a prominent waterfall so close to New York City.

[Photographed with my Panasonic FX35; I’m sure that my GF1 would have done a nicer job, but I was traveling light.]

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