Friday, September 4, 2009

Tuesday, Sept.1 - Part 1

I'm sorry, but I'm going to do today in three parts --- too many pictures to try to keep straight.
We closed off the doors to the guest bedroom and the rest of the house this morning, forcing Maggie to be sociable and stay with us in the kitchen/sitting room area. She made herself at home on Arnie's lap (and on his newspaper). After breakfast, Julie and I set off to see the Great Falls of Paterson, NJ. Julie had seen an article in the newspaper recently describing how these falls, just a few miles from her home, were the second largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi (second to Niagra Falls). She was amazed that neither she nor Arnie had ever heard of them so we set off to investigate.

I think it was originally called "Passaic Falls" because of the river it was located on. I'm not sure when they started calling it "Great Falls," but in 1976 President Gerald Ford declared the area surrounding the waterfall a National Historic Landmark District. In 2004 it became a State Park and recently (3/30/09) President Barack Obama signed the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Act as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Act.

These are the Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, NJ. Perhaps I would have been more impressed if I had seen these BEFORE Niagra Falls. In all fairness, however, this is probably the "dry" season for the falls; they have more water going over them in the springtime, I'd imagine. If you look closely in the photo, you can see a partial rainbow over the gorge. That sort of made up for the rainbow I never saw at Niagra Falls.

This is what is called the S.U.M. Hydroelectric Station, built in 1913-14. It is one of the earliest hydroelectric plants in the country. The S.U. M., or "Society for Establishing Usefull Manufactures" (note the additional "L" on "Useful" and the absence of a final "R" in "Manufactures"), was founded in 1791 with the initial purpose of "making and printing of cotton goods" after Alexander Hamilton submitted a report to Congress promoting the building of mills and developing manufacturing in the United States, rather than importing these goods. The best location for the S.U.M. mills and industries was in what became Paterson, New Jersey, because of the power that could be obtained there from the Great Falls.

While we were there, they were getting ready for an annual Labor Day Weekend Celebration. One of the events is going to be a "stunt" where someone rides a bicycle across a tightrope strung across the gorge below the falls --- with someone on a trapeze suspended from the bicycle! They were setting up the wire, and/or adjusting the tension on the guy wires attached to it while we were there; interesting, and a bit scary to watch. I don't know if they do this every year or if this is a first.

No comments:

Post a Comment