Plunging 77 feet into a chasm 300 feet wide, the Great Falls of the Passaic River has long been a source of inspiration and power. Alexander Hamilton, America's first Secretary of the Treasury, chose this place to begin implementing his ambitious plan to make the United States economically independent of foreign powers. Hamilton founded the City of Paterson in 1792 to create the world's first planned city of innovation built around a hydropower system to encourage manufacturing.
The industrial center attracted entrepreneurs, laborers, and immigrants with diverse talents. They came here to work in the bustling mills that produced everything from textiles and Colt firearms to locomotives and aircraft engines. Today the Passaic River drives turbines in the hydroelectric plant at the base of the falls to provide clean, renewable energy to thousands of homes.