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Great Falls of the Passaic Society for Useful Manufacturing HD

Paterson, New Jersey
County of Passaic.
At Passaic River
National Register Number: 70000391
Resource type: District.
Property type: Historic District: Historical. The threat level was Watch in
Congressional District: NJ-8 Certified Local Government: YES
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Current use/information: Industrial District.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 11, 1976):
Developed by Alexander Hamilton and Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the Great Falls district is the site of the first attempt in the United States to harness the entire power of a major river for industrial purposes. The district includes an elaborate, three-tiered system of raceways, numerous 19th and early-20th century manufacturing buildings and a hydro-electrical plant, as well as the Great Falls themselves measuring over 70-feet in height.

Two major buildings at the northeastern edge of the District and a third building, the Rogers Locomotive Company Storage Building, are vacant and still face an uncertain future. The Storage Building is located directly behind the Rogers Locomotive Frame Fitting Shop. Although the Frame Fitting Shop is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation by a non-profit group, the Storage Building was not included in this rehabilitation project and remains vacant and deteriorating. Situated in the Upper Raceway Park, the Storage Building is extremely important to the district because it is the only building completely built over the raceway. The seven-acre sector known as the Allied Textile Printing (ATP) site occupies a critical location connecting two major parts of the District. This site contains the partial shell of the early Colt Mill, as well as fragments of other mill buildings destroyed in a series of fires in the 1980s.

The future use of the Allied Textile Printing site remains undetermined but with the withdrawal of a developer’s proposal for housing on the site, and the emergency cleanup of the site, broader public interest in the development of the site has grown. A Programmatic Agreement for further site clearance and a cultural resources survey was executed in October 2002. The results of the survey will lead to the development of recommendations for the site that will help determine an appropriate reuse.In 2002, the City completed the stabilization of the Colt Gun Mill, one of the oldest structures on the ATP site, using a grant from the New Jersey Historical Trust, as well as funds from a special $4 million Congressional grant awarded in 1992 for preservation projects in the District. The latter grant also funded the preparation of Design Guidelines for the Landmark District, completed in July 1999, and will fund the work conducted under the Programmatic Agreement.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
Since redevelopment of the ATP site has the potential to radically alter the industrial character of the District, it is imperative that any new construction be compatible with the District's historic buildings. It is also important that the eventual use of the site draw the community and visitors into the public areas. A developer is needed willing to rehabilitate the two endangered mill buildings at the northeastern edge of the district for an adaptive reuse. An appropriate adaptive reuse is required for the Rogers Storage building in the Upper Raceway Park, or the non-profit group developing the building in front of the Storage building needs the financial assistance that would allow incorporation of the Storage building into their plans

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