Dutch traders first settled in Passaic in 1678 with the founding of a fur-trading post. After the river was dammed, industrial growth blossomed. Some of the most successful mills of New Jersey were built in Passaic. Many of them were German worsted mills. The town used to be full of European immigrants, which had come to fill the factories. In the 1970's came deindustrialization, which was pretty much the downfall of many American cities. Passaic would prove no better. The industrial section of the city of Passaic known as the lower Dundee, the east side neighborhood that runs along the bank of the Passaic, is filled with ruins of the cities legacy as an industrial powerhouse. I made my way down to the area to walk the streets where 15,000 woolen mill workers fought for the rights of workers in the Passaic textile Strike of 1926.
Built in the 1880's near the Canal was the Pantasote Leather Company, which produced imitation leather. Pantasote is an imitation leather material made by the Pantasote Company, beginning in 1891. It was a durable, relatively inexpensive material used as upholstery and fabrics used on trains, for tents, and awnings. The factory was abandoned in 1993 and was the site of illegal toxic waste dumping.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.