21 Interesting Facts About Paterson NJ

Passaic County Courthouse, Paterson, New Jersey

Paterson, New Jersey is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Located in Passaic County, Paterson has been an important hub for industry, innovation, and immigration over the past two centuries. Here are 21 fascinating facts about Paterson that shed light on this unique city:

As the third largest city in New Jersey, Paterson has made significant contributions to the state’s development. Nicknamed the “Silk City” due to its booming silk production in the 19th century, Paterson was one of America’s first planned industrial cities. From its iconic Great Falls to its diversity and resilience, Paterson has plenty of captivating stories to tell. This article uncovers some of the most intriguing details about Paterson’s history, culture, landmarks, and more. Read on to learn 21 interesting facts that make this city truly one-of-a-kind.

Interesting Facts About Paterson NJ

  1. Paterson was founded in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, Hamilton established the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures to harness the power of the Great Falls for industry1.
  2. The 77-foot-high Great Falls of the Passaic River2 helped power Paterson’s mills and factories starting in the 1790s. The falls and surrounding historic district are now part of a National Park.
  3. Paterson became known as the “Silk City” for its booming silk production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At one point it produced half of the silk in the United States.
  4. The 1913 Paterson silk strike involved over 25,000 workers demanding better working conditions. It led to the recognition of the Industrial Workers of the World Labor Union3.
  5. Paterson was the site of early submarine experiments by Irish-American inventor John Philip Holland in the late 1800s. Holland launched submarines from the Passaic River.
  6. Poet William Carlos Williams wrote an epic five-part poem titled “Paterson” between 1946 and 1958. The poem depicts the history, culture, and spirit of the city.
  7. Paterson is home to the third largest Muslim population by percentage in the United States. The city has a vibrant Arab, South Asian, and Turkish community.
  8. The Paterson Museum houses a major collection of industrial and locomotive history relics, including the Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works collection.
  9. Paterson’s Art Factory building was originally a 19th-century silk mill. It has been converted into artists’ lofts, galleries, studios, and event spaces.
  10. The Paterson Public Library’s main branch building was funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1903. It was recently renovated and expanded.
  11. Paterson’s Lambert Castle was built in the 1890s as the home of Catholina Lambert, the wealthy owner of a prominent silk mill.
  12. Lou Costello of the comedy duo Abbott and Costello was born and raised in Paterson. The Lou Costello Memorial Park is named after the famous comedian.
  13. The Paterson Armory was a prominent historic building that hosted events and presidents like Theodore Roosevelt. It tragically burned down in 1991.
  14. Alexander Hamilton’s historic 1792 Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures building stood in Paterson until it was destroyed by fire in 1835.
  15. Paterson was the first planned industrial city in America, with a design by French architect Pierre L’Enfant, the planner for Washington D.C.
  16. The Great Peruvian and Italian Food Festival celebrates Paterson’s diversity with food, music, and cultural performances every summer.
  17. Paterson is home to the largest Dominican-American population in the United States outside of New York City.
  18. The Paterson Falls once had a visible mist that led to the naming of a now-extinct mosquito species after the city: Aedes patersonii.
  19. Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson was one of a few stadiums open to Negro League baseball teams in the 20th century and hosted games by the New York Black Yankees and others.
  20. Paterson natives include celebrities like musician The Weeknd, actor Lou Costello, basketball player Tim Thomas, and notorious mobster Jackie DiNorscio.
  21. The Great Falls Festival of the Arts takes place annually along the Passaic River in Paterson, featuring arts, food, and musical performances.


As these fascinating facts show, Paterson has made an immense impact as a hub of industry, innovation, and culture over the past two centuries. From its founding as America’s first planned industrial city to its role in the labor movement and its diverse immigrant communities, Paterson has a rich story. The Great Falls, historic sites, and local traditions like the silk and Peruvian festivals are just some of the many highlights that make Paterson unique. Whether you are a local resident or visitor, Paterson is a New Jersey city well worth exploring and celebrating

  1. https://nj.gov/state/historical/assets/pdf/it-happened-here/ihhnj-er-hamilton.pdf []
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Falls_(Passaic_River) []
  3. https://nj.gov/state/historical/assets/pdf/it-happened-here/ihhnj-er-paterson.pdf []

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