Behind the Great Falls of Paterson – When They Turn Off the Water

by Alice Magdziak • September 15, 2016 • Passaic, Photography, Third StateComments (0)2217

Every six months or so, the water flowing into the Great Falls is diverted away from the area so that debris can be cleaned away.  Today was one of those rare days and I took a ride over to Paterson this morning to see the cliffs behind the Falls.  It was quite an amazing sight!

There were workers in boats, pulling giant logs over the riverbank to be cut up and hauled away.


There were workers with chainsaws cutting up smaller branches right on the river bed.


There were even guys with trash bags walking all over and getting the little bits of trash that hadn’t been washed down the river yet.


What I found really neat was being able to see some of the construction behind what made the Great Falls so important for industry when Paterson was founded and into its heyday.  The raceways that were created to fuel mills used dams to divert some water into the manmade waterways all around the falls.  You could see the main dam and some of the inlets around the falls area.



There were news cameras and newspaper guys all around gathering information. Look at this photographer right on the edge of the cliff without a hard hat or anything!


The next time they might turn off the Great Falls of Paterson could be Earth Day next April so keep your eyes peeled for announcements or try to run down there today.  It’s quite a sight to behold!

Check out my full gallery of pictures:

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