Paterson Raceway

Paterson, NJ

Alexander Hamilton and George Washington visited the Great Falls and began to imagine the industrial potential of the area. In 1791, Hamilton and others founded the Society for Establishing Usefull Manufactures (S.U.M.) and a "raceway" was designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant (chief architect and planner of Washington, DC) to divert water from above the falls into the area's first mill. The design was simplified by Peter Cold and went into operation in 1794 and extended in 1801 to power additional mills. A major expansion in 1828 added an upper raceway that extended to the south, then looped back to the north to connect to the existing raceway. The final modification was made in 1838 to replace the source reservoir with with a masonry dam across the river and a new channel through rock to feed the raceway. In 1876, the S.U.M. estimated the available water power at 2,108 horsepower (1.6 MW), with about 87% of that actually being harnessed. The raceway served the community for the remainder of the 19th century before being outmoded in the early 20th century. (reference)

My tour of the raceway ended at a fence surrounding the ruins of the Allied Textile Printing Facility, which has been the source of great controversy between developers who covet its lovely river views and preservationists who covet its industrial legacy.

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Gate to the raceway
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Gate to the raceway
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Upper raceway north of Spruce Street
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Raceway historic sign
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ASCE/ASME Landmark plaque (1977)
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1828-Present raceway maps
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1792-1827 raceway maps
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Raceway park map
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Historic district map
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Upper raceway king post truss bridge over spillway
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Spillway gate
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Looking down from spillway at Spruce Street bridge
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Upper raceway headed south
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Looking down from upper raceway into mill district
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Upper raceway headed south
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Upper raceway headed south
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Looking back at uppper raceway
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Truss bridge over upper raceway
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Truss bridge over upper raceway
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Spillway to lower raceway
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Spillway to lower raceway
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Lower raceway headed back north
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Looking down on the lower raceway and surrounding mills
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Building over the lower raceway
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Building over the lower raceway
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Passaic Paper Mill Flume historic sign
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Truss bridge over lower raceway
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King post truss detail
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Lower raceway flowing from the South
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Lower raceway flowing from the South
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Ivanhoe Paper Mill building
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Ivanhoe Wheelhouse historic sign
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Lower raceway intersecting spillway from upper raceway
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Spillway from upper raceway
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Spillway
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Spillway
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Raceway
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Remnants of Ivanhoe Paper Mill
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Spruce Street bridge over raceway
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Spruce Street bridge
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Spruce Street bridge
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Raceway east of Spruce Street
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Raceway headed east from Spruce Street
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Mounting of some kind on shore of raceway
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Bus depot
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Raceway east of Spruce Street
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Raceway south of Ellison Street
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Raceway south of Ellison Street
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Franklin Mill (1910) - converted to offices in 1984
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Ellison Street Bridge plaque (1999)
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Raceway
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Raceway headed into Allied Textile Printing site
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Raceway headed into Allied Textile Printing site
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Flow control gates
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Flow control gates
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Allied Textile Printing ruins
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Repurposed mill buildings
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Stray kitten
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Union Works building (1827/1890)
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Union Works building