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For me it starts here . . . in Kennesaw, Georgia.  No . . . not the Passaic River . .  but my interest in visiting Paterson, NJ, which I did last Saturday.  And I got there from Manhattan, by train, in 44 minutes.  But I digress:  three years ago in Kennesaw–visiting family at Christmas, I was talked into visiting a Civil War museum that featured this locomotive.  In the fine print, I read that it was built at Paterson’s  Rogers Locomotive and Machine  Works, which I’d never heard of.

Behold the totally freshwater wild Passaic, only about 20 miles from the sixth boro!  This view is less than a mile’s walk from the Paterson passenger rail stop.

I’d heard people ridicule the Great Falls, but judge for yourself.  I took this foto from an arched steel walkway with wooden treads, so icy Saturday morning from a glaze of spray that froze that I skated my way across.  Shangri-la in Paterson!!

Here’s a shot from below the Falls.   Just to the left of the foto is the power house, where water power gushes through raceways to turn the turbines that powered this birthplace of American industry.  Besides

manufacturing 12,000 locomotives, factories within a quarter mile made the seminal revolver called Colt Paterson and a certain engine called J-5 Wright Whirlwind that ran on a “spirited” 33.5-hour flight.

A certain Catholic school teacher named John P. Holland also worked in Paterson, after moving there from Ireland.  And his toys made Capt. Nemo’s fantasy a reality.

The Paterson museum houses not one but two early Holland subs, both inside now after some years outdoors (one of them) and at the bottom on the Passaic (the other).

I currently work in Elizabeth, NJ, on the Arthur Kill.  Today there appears widespread amnesia about Elizabeth’s connection with subs, but 95 years ago, folks there made quite the ceremony to honor Holland.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  And guess who visits Paterson today?  Salazar.     Maybe he’ll have time to take a boat ride from there down to the sixth boro?

Imagine Great Falls after Irene’s dump?  See it here.

To see other watersheds I’ve visited, type watershed into the search window.  Here are a few:  St. Lawrence, Delaware, Columbia . . .

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Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


November 2011