Paterson Great Falls: Mary Ellen Kramer Park


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

falls map

Mary Ellen Kramer Park at the head of Paterson Great Falls is named for the ‘First Lady of Paterson.’ As the wife of Paterson’s Mayor for 14 years, Mary Ellen Kramer fought to preserve the Great Falls Historic District. In 1970, she was instrumental in blocking the construction of a highway over the falls that would have demolished the old silk mills.


Kramer’s efforts resulted in President Ford naming the district a National Historic Landmark in 1976. In 2001, the entire NJ Congressional Delegation appealed to Congress to open a feasibility study for inclusion of the falls in the National Park Service. In 2009, President Obama signed legislation naming Great Falls a National Historical Park and in 2011, the Department of the Interior officially designated it as the 397th NPS unit.


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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