About This Place
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area. Paterson is known as the "Silk City" for its dominant role in silk production during the latter half of the 19th century.
In 1791, Alexander Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), which helped encourage the harnessing of energy from the Great Falls of the Passaic River, to secure economic independence from British manufacturers. Paterson, which was founded by the society, became the cradle of the industrial revolution in America. Paterson was named for William Paterson, Governor of New Jersey, statesman, and signer of the Constitution.
Architect, engineer, and city planner Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant, who had earlier developed the initial plans for Washington, D.C., was the first planner for the S.U.M. project. His plan proposed to harness the power of the Great Falls through a channel in the rock and an aqueduct. However, the society's directors felt he was taking too long and was over budget. He was replaced by Peter Colt, who used a less-complicated reservoir system to get the water flowing to factories in 1794. Eventually, Colt's system developed some problems and a scheme resembling L'Enfant's original plan was used after 1846.