Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
New Jersey--Passaic Falls

Crossed over to New Jersey, and took the railroad, to view the falls of the Passaic River, about fifteen miles from New York. This water-power has given birth to Paterson, a town with ten thousand inhabitants, where a variety of manufactures is carried on. A more beautiful wild spot can hardly be conceived; and to a European who has been accustomed to travel far in search of the picturesque, it appears singular that at so short a distance from a large city, he should at once find himself in the midst of such a strange combination of nature and art. Independent of their beauty, they are, perhaps, the most singular falls that are known to exist. The whole country is of trappe formation, and the black rocks rise up strictly vertical. The river, which at the falls is about one hundred and twenty yards wide, pours over a bed of rock between hills covered with chestnut, walnut, pine, and sycamore, all mingled together, and descending to the edge of the bank, their bright and various foliage forming a lovely contrast to the clear rushing water. The bed of black rock over which the river runs is, at the fall, suddenly split in two, vertically, and across the whole width of the river. The fissure is about seventy feet deep and not more than twelve feet wide at any part. Down into this chasm pour the whole water of the river,

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