Passaic River History



From An Informational Placard At The Essex County Environmental Center:


30,000 years ago: The Wisconsin Glacier covered the Passaic River Valley

11,000 years ago: The Passaic River was formed by waters escaping from Glacial Lake Passaic

1666: Land which is now the City of Newark was purchased from the Hackensack
Tribe on the banks of the Lower Passaic River

1778: George Washington used the banks of the Passaic River for his camp during the
Revolutionary War

1792: The Passaic River's Great Falls in Paterson was harnessed for power. The City of Paterson
was created as the first industrial city in America by Alexander Hamilton

1828: Dundee Dam was constructed in Garfield and Clifton to make Lake Dundee

1880: The population of New Jersey exceeds one million

Early 1900's - 1970's: Heavy metals, pesticides and other dangerous contaminants were released into the Passaic River by various local industry

1924: First wastewater treatment plant in New Jersey was constructed in Newark

1964: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established (instead of an airport)

1970: Passaic River was listed as the second most polluted river in America

1972: Congress passed Clean Air and Clean Water Acts

1972: The first Essex County Environmental Center opens

1980-Present: Local environmental and conservation advocacy and research groups were formed to encourage restoration of the Passaic River

2005: Current Essex County Environmental Center opens

2005: First Annual Passaic River Paddle Relay and Watershed Festival was held, conducted by a
partnership of local environmental groups

Present: Local organizations and partnerships are working to educate people about restoring, protecting and preserving the natural heritage of the Passaic River Watershed



Glacial Lake Passaic

    Lake Passaic - An Extinct Glacial Lake    e-book

    Glacial Lake Passaic - Wikipedia Description



Passaic River

    The Passaic River - Past, Present, Future

    Norman F. Brydon, Rutgers University Press, 1974, Hardcover, 376 Pages

    Out of print but usually available on Amazon. Check your local libraries.



Common Tragedy


     A Common Tragedy - History of an Urban River

     Amherst Scientific Publishers, 2002, Hardcover, 200 Pages

     Out of print but usually available on Amazon. Check your local libraries.




Life Along The Passaic

     Life Along The Passaic River

     William Carlos Williams, New Directions, 1938, Hardcover, 201 Pages

     Williams was an American poet and writer of short stories, 1883-1963.

     Out of print but usually available on Amazon. Check your local libraries.




Great Falls

     Images of America - Great Falls of Paterson

     Marcia A. Dente, Arcadia, 2010, Softcover, 128 Pages

     Photo-heavy history of the Great Falls





An American River

     An American River - From Paradise To Superfund

     Mary Bruno, DeWitt Press, 2012, Softcover, 309 Pages







     Nightshade On The Passaic - Weird NJ

     Wheeler Antabanez, Weird NJ Magazine, 2008, 80 Pages

     The journey of a local writer exploring the Passaic River.






     A Great Conveniency -

     A Maritime History of Passaic and Hackensack Rivers and Newark Bay

     Kevin K. Olson, American History Press, 2008, Softcover, 260 Pages





    Montclair State University / PassaicBasin / Learn


    Passaic River - Wikipedia Description



Dundee Dam & Dundee Lake

    Teterboro Online / Dunde Dam & Dundee Lake



Paterson Great Falls

    Wikipedia / Paterson Great Falls

    Teterboro Online / Paterson Great Falls



Beatties Dam / Little Falls

    Passaic County Historical Society / Captain James Gray



Native American Fishing Weirs

Native American Fishing Weir

     The Fairlawn / Paterson Fish Weir

     Secret of the Passaic - October 3, 2008 - New York Times



Past Mistakes




     Historical and Current Ecology of the Lower Passaic River - December 2004 - Urban Habitats

     Reviving The Passaic - February 18, 2009 - NJ Monthly

     Passaic River Fish Tested For Toxins - September 10, 2009 -

     The Dirty Truth About That Other Jersey Shore - NPR - November 19, 2010 (video)


























 highlands council



 Lower Passaic Cooperating Parties





















 lucky cigarette