Great Falls is on the Passaic River, in the heart of the city of Paterson, which is one of the earliest planned industrial cities in the USA. Founding father Alexander Hamilton recognized the importance of the falls as an energy source, and in 1792 established the Society for Useful Manufactures, an industrial investment group to develop industries there. Canal raceways starting at the top of the falls soon snaked through the area, which became a major industrial center in the 19th century, producing locomotives, firearms, silks, and chemicals. Many of the mills powered by the falls remain, though they have been converted for other uses. The falls site itself is a historic park, since 2011 administered by the National Park Service.