It All Started with a Picnic at the Great Falls

Jun 21, 2016

On July 10, 1778, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Marquis de Lafayette stopped for lunch at the Great Falls. Years later, as the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton founded the City of Paterson as the birthplace of America's economic independence, fueled by the rushing water of the Passaic River.

On Sunday July 10, 2016, we will hold a series of free events in the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to commemorate the "most important picnic in American history." The event starts at 12:30 p.m. in Mary Ellen Kramer Park (parking is available in Overlook Park at 72 McBride Street). Hamilton Partnership President Leonard Zax will speak about the Great Falls as the inspiration for Alexander Hamilton to create the world's first planned city of innovation, and launch what we have come to call the American Dream.

At 1:00 p.m. living historians portraying Washington, Hamilton, and Lafayette will recreate the famous picnic. We encourage visitors to bring their own picnic lunch and dine along with the founding fathers! After the picnic, visitors will be able to meet and talk to the founding fathers.

At 2:00 p.m. rangers will lead an hour-long walking tour of the national park. The tour will conclude at the Paterson Museum, where visitors can explore some of the incredible inventions and technological innovations from Paterson that would forever change life in America, and around the world. The Museum will also feature the traveling exhibition Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made America, organized by the New-York Historical Society. This beautifully-designed display tells the story of Hamilton’s life, from his childhood as a poor orphan in the Caribbean, to his journey to New Jersey to begin his education, to his rise as one of our most important founding fathers.


These events are hosted by the National Park Service and the Hamilton Partnership, and by the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society as part of their annual CelebrateHAMILTON program. For a full schedule of 2016 CelebrateHAMILTON programming, visit 

Click the link below to download the flyer for the event.

CelebrateHAMILTON Flyer.pdf1.52 MB