Paterson Great Falls and Alexander Hamilton

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! 

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Alexander Hamilton died 216 years ago today from a gunshot wound received during the infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Hamilton, one of the USA’s founding fathers, also helped to establish Paterson, New Jersey. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton believed America would prosper by developing industry rather than agriculture.

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To this end, he found S.U.M., the Society of Useful Manufactures, laying out a plan for Paterson to harness the power of the Great Falls. S.U.M. purchased 700 acres around the falls and named the new city after New Jersey’s governor, William Paterson, who supported Hamilton’s vision. The City of Paterson became the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

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Paterson Posts

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Location: 72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designated or established: 11/7/2011

Date of my visit: 1/26/2020

9 thoughts on “Paterson Great Falls and Alexander Hamilton

  1. I read the book on which the play “Hamilton” was based, but if I knew this about him, I had forgotten it. He was an exceptional person. When one bemoans the state of politics today, one need only study the nasty goings on after the revolution when there were sharp policy divisions among the founding fathers as well as the usual assortment of unscrupulous people. But we survived then and will survive now.

    1. Yes, but hard to see when you are in the thick of it. The Paterson connection isn’t mentioned in the play (saw it on Disney+) and I don’t recall it being mentioned in the historical fiction novel about Eliza that I read. When history speaks about his role as Treasurer, focus is generally on the federal reserve bank and stabilizing the currency. It’s a good thing this site was given over to the NPS for historical interpretation.

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