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Great Falls Historic District Special Resource Study

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Great Falls Historic District
Special Resource Study
Paterson, New Jersey

The Great Falls Historic District is the site of the first planned industrial development in the United States. Alexander Hamilton selected the site in 1792, largely because of the 70 foot tall Great Falls of the Passaic, which would provide a source of hydro power for industry. The Society for Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.) hired Pierre Charles L' Enfant, to design a system of raceways, including a dam across the Passaic River, though the design implemented was not L'Enfant's. The raceway system, and the historic architecture associated with silk mills, rail locomotives, and armaments all contributed to the Secretary of Interior's designation of the Great Falls National Historic Landmark District, announced by President Ford in 1976.

The National Park Service (NPS) has been directed by Congress to conduct a "Special Resource Study" focusing on the Great Falls Historic District in Paterson, New Jersey. The Great Falls Historic District Special Resource Study explores whether the National Park Service should help do more in the effort to conserve this National Historic Landmark District. In particular, the Special Resource Study is designed to explore whether the Great Falls Historic District's historic and natural resources should be represented as a unit within the National Park System.

Public comments on the report can be submitted electronically until January 30, 2007.


Contact Information
Peter Samuel
National Park Service
200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106