Historically Speaking


Glimpses into Passaic County’s Past

The following articles and photographs cover a wide range of topics and provide an interesting look back in time. Much of the material was originally published in PCHS newsletters dating from the 1920s to the present or in old county histories; however, also included is material prepared by current PCHS members. Although some of the older articles may contain remarks that are not politically correct by today’s standards, they provide insight into the era in which they were written.

The PCHS Genealogy Club Homepage also contains much information about people, places, and events in Passaic County history.

To learn about events that occurred in the United States on this day, visit
Today in History – American Memory – Library of Congress.


David Salisbury Franks – A Profile

Richard Varick of Hackensack . . . Patriot, Soldier, Founder

From Macclesfield to Paterson

“Whistler’s Mother” – The McNeills and The Whistlers

Life Among the Early Settlers of Acquackanonk

Capt. Archibald Belcher

Capt. & Mrs. Hugh Irish

Alfred Speer

Catholina Lambert

Immigrants At The Paterson Silk Mills

The Capture of John Cadmus -( Revolutionary War)

1886 Letter From George Baker re the Statue of Liberty Celebration

Early Physicians in Passaic County

Civil War Letter from Herber Wells

Aboriginal Vestiges of Garret Mountain

Eliza Howard Powers (Civil War Nurse)

Dean William McNulty

Reminiscences of Paterson

“Paterson O’Paterson, How Glorious was Thy Past” – A Historical Sketch on the Life and Times of Robert Hamil

The Interesting Career of Judge John W. Rea

Passaic County Manumission Records

The Early Settlements (Settlers) of West Milford

An Act of Kindness – (George Washington)

Capt. James Gray – Ironmaster at Little Falls

Washington at the Totowa Falls

Alexander Hamilton

John F. Noonan, Telephone Pioneer

Robert Erskine: Mapmaker and Patriot


Dublin, Paterson’s First Neighborhood

Dublin Spring Destroyed

The Founding of Passaic

The Totowa Bridge

The Naming of Hawthorne

Older Place Names in Passaic County

Paterson County

First Map of Old Paterson

The Old Clifton Racetrack

The Naming of Godwinville (Ridgewood)

How Auburn Street Was Named

Passaic Falls Bridges

The Fall of the Dundee Bridge

Street Name Changes  (Paterson)

Streets Added and Removed (Paterson) 

Top Secret – The Cannonball Road

Garret Mountain Tower

The Naming of Athenia: A Section of Clifton NJ

History of West Milford Township, Passaic County, New Jersey 1834-1934

An Early History of Hawthorne, New Jersey

Fire, Floods, Epidemics, and other Disasters

Paterson Cholera Epidemic 1832

Paterson Cholera Epidemic 1849

The Gun Mill In Flames

The Fall of the Dundee Bridge

The (Paterson) Tornado of 1903

Organizations and Associations

Passaic Home and Orphans Asylum

Paterson Orphans Asylum Association, Inc

The Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers  (S.U.M.)

The Memorial Day Nursery – The Nickel House

Festivals and Celebrations

The George Washington Bicentennial in Paterson and Passaic County


Earliest  Schools in Passaic County

Some Adventures in Private Education in Paterson


Early History of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Paterson, NJ


The True Reformed Church of Acquackanonk ~ The Seceders

The First African Methodist Church of Passaic, NJ

Paterson Church Directory 1879

Early Catholics in the Passaic County Area

Second Presbyterian Church of Paterson

The Reformed Dutch Churches of Paterson

The True Reformed Church of Passaic

The Dutch Church of Totowa


Pompton’s Little Yellow House

The Ryder Farm

George Washington’s Headquarters at the Falls

Carolina Troops at Totowa in 1780

Passaic’s Victory Day: How Washington’s Retreat Became Stabilized at Passaic

U.S.S. Passaic

Business and Industry

American Duck (Manufactured at the Phoenix Mill)

Paterson Pianos

The Great Notch Inn

The Passaic Hotel

Weavertown – A Small Popularly Named Section of Paterson

United States  Hotel

Transportation and Communication

A Steam Carriage

Horse Railroads

Fisher’s Steam Carriage

Coach’s Legacy Endures (The Deckertown Stage)


The Echo – Clifton’s First Newspaper

The City of Passaic Newspapers (1882)

New Jersey Daily National 

Paterson Newspapers

Houses, Farms, Buildings, etc.

Historic 1680 Speer Homestead Little Falls

Court House Corner Stone

Camping in a Castle

The Fritzsche House (Totowa)

The Stynmets-Sip House (Passaic)

The Museum Hotel

Arts, Entertainment and Sports

Rembrandt Club

The Age of the Music Box

At the Sign of the Brass Dog

St. Patrick’s Day, A Poem by Patersonian, J. Shey, 1823

Outstanding Figures in the Musical History of Paterson

The Paterson Theatre

Early Nickelodeons in Passaic County

The Birth and Early Development of the Motion Picture

Sale of Cropsey’s Pictures

Wayne’s Most Famous Resident – The Horse “Preakness”

Interesting, Strange and Unusual

A Fish Story

Pearl Craze In Passaic County

Vampire Visits Passaic County

The Doors of Grant’s Tomb

A Bell With a Remarkable History