Visitors can observe the majestic tumble of water—an estimated 2 billion gallons daily—and the 77-foot drop from several vantage points, including a footbridge that spans the Falls, offering a bird’s-eye view.
In the late 1700s, this awe-inspiring rush of water led Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to implement a mill system that harnessed the energy of the Falls and turned Paterson into an early manufacturing center. Over the years, Paterson’s factories churned out a range of products, including silk (hence the nickname Silk City), aircraft engines, and firearms.
With the passing of Paterson’s industrial heyday, the city became better known for crime and poverty, and its natural wonder—the Great Falls—was largely overlooked. Then in March, President Obama signed a bill declaring the Falls a national historic park. The designation will make the area eligible for much-needed redevelopment funds. Planned projects include an amphitheater and public plaza. For now, the Falls are the star of the show.
Information about the Falls is available from the Paterson Cultural Center, 65 McBride Avenue Extension, 973-279-9587.
Click on the links below to read our Fall Day Trips stories:
Take A Hike: Aching feet and burning quads are a small price to pay for a trek on New Jersey’s Appalachian Trail.
Shudder And Quake: From fright fests to haunted hayrides, ghostly attraction abound in NJ.