Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015



Proctor's Palace Theatre opened in Newark, New Jersey on November 25, 1915. The architect was John W. Merrow, the nephew of Proctor Theatre circuit owner Frederick F. Proctor.
The Palace was a double decker theater, which meant that one auditorium was stacked on top of the other, a rare design choice at the time. The lower, street-level auditorium had 2,300 seats and the upper had around 900. The space was among the largest and most open in the area, leading the city to use it as the site of it’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916.
Originally, the Palace was a vaudeville theater. The theater eventually switched over to exclusively movie showings, but the occasional vaudeville show, such as Bela Lugosi’s “Horror and Magic Show” still played there.

Shortly before his death in 1929 F.F. Proctor sold his company to Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corporation (“RKO”), and the name of the theater was changed to RKO Proctor’s Theatre.
The history of Proctor’s is tied up in the history of the town in which it’s located. Besides the overall decline of US economy in the 60′s, the demise of Proctor’s was a result the infamous Newark race riots of 1967.
In the 1960’s, Newark’s poverty and unemployment rates were high, and the black community of felt disenfranchised, politically underrepresented and subject to police brutality. Racial tension steadily increased, exacerbated by the government’s decision to tear down the tenements on a large chunk of land to construct a university, a move that displaced and pissed off thousands of residents.
Tension came to a head when two white policemen arrested a black cab driver for a minor traffic offense and were witnessed publicly abusing the driver. A (false) rumor that the driver died while in custody spread and incited the infamous race riot of 1967. The riot began with destruction of property and soon escalated to looting, arson and violence. The rioting lasted from July 12th-17th, leaving 26 dead, 725 injured, 1,500 arrests and the city in shambles.
The destruction caused by the riots and the decline of industry in the 60’s and 70’s shuttered most of Newark, including Proctor’s Theatre. As stores closed, businesses (along with most of the white middle class) left the city, leaving a mostly poor population to inhabit the city. In the year after the riots, following the RKO/Stanley Warner merger, Proctor’s was closed and never reopened.
The Palace was closed in 1968 when RKO merged with Stanley Warner, who owned Newark’s larger and more profitable Branford Theater.  The lobby has been renovated and is currently used as a shoe store.  The rest of the building remains vacant and after years of neglect has started to collapse.


The Paulinskill Viaduct, also known as the Hainesburg Viaduct, is a reinforced concrete railroad bridge that crosses the Paulins Kill in Knowlton TownshipNew Jersey. When completed in 1910, it was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world.
The viaduct was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad as part of the Lackawanna Cut-Off, a project that replaced an older route with a straighter and flatter route through the mountains of northwestern New Jersey. (A sister bridge of similar design but smaller dimension, the Delaware River Viaduct, carries the Lackawanna Cut-Off over the river, Interstate 80, and the New Jersey-Pennsylvania state line.) Designed by the DL&W's engineering staff under the supervision of chief engineer Lincoln Bush and built by the Philadelphia contracting firm of Reiter, Curtis & Hill, the bridge was considered a pioneering work that opened the door to the building of even larger concrete viaducts by the Lackawanna, most notably the Tunkhannock Viaduct in Pennsylvania in 1915.
Open to regular rail traffic on Christmas Eve 1911, the Paulinskill Viaduct, supported by its seven graceful arches, carried DL&W trains until 1960, when the railroad merged with the Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. The E-L in turn operated the Cut-Off until 1976 when the railroad was conveyed into Conrail, which ran trains until 1979, abandoned the line in 1982, and removed the tracks in 1984.
New Jersey Transit is working to restore commuter service along the Cut-Off, with the 7.3-mile (11.7 km) section from Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, to Andover, New Jersey, currently under construction and slated to open in 2016. NJT has proposed to restore the rest of the Cut-Off, including the Paulinskill Viaduct, and restore passenger service into northeastern Pennsylvania, possibly as far as Scranton.
The Paulinskill Viaduct is also known for its internal chambers (used to inspect the structural integrity of the bridge), which are popular among those who enjoy urban exploration. The graffiti-filled chambers have been featured on Weird NJ.


The Great Falls of the Passaic River is a prominent waterfall, 77 feet (23 m) high, on the Passaic River in the city of Paterson in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. The falls and surrounding area are protected as part of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service. The Congress authorized its establishment in 2009.

One of the United States' largest waterfalls, it played a significant role in the early industrial development of New Jersey starting in the earliest days of the nation. It is part of the Great Falls of Paterson-Garret Mountain National Natural Landmark. It has also been designated as a National Historic Landmark District since 1976. The Great Falls' raceway and power systems were designated an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1977.
During floods the Great Falls becomes a spectacular sight, with tremendous amounts of water cascading over the falls. It is widely reported that the Falls are the second largest by volume east of the Mississippi River but this is not true. The World Waterfall Database list of largest waterfalls by volume contains 4 waterfalls east of the Mississippi River; Great Falls of the Passaic is not included on this list.

Geologically, the falls were formed at the end of the last ice age approximately 13,000 years ago. Formerly the Passaic had followed a shorter course through the Watchung Mountains near present-day Summit. As the glacier receded, the river's previous course was blocked by a newly formed moraine. A large lake, called Glacial Lake Passaic, formed behind the Watchungs. As the ice receded, the river found a new circuitous route around the north end of the Watchungs, carving the spectacular falls through the underlying basalt, which was formed approximately 200 million years ago.

The falls later became the site of a habitation for Lenape Native Americans, and later for Dutch settlers in the 1690s.
In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and was impressed by its potential for industry. Later when Hamilton was the nation's Secretary of Treasury, he selected the site of the nation's first planned industrial city, which he called a "national manufactory." In 1791, Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), state-chartered private corporation to fulfill this vision. The town of Paterson was founded by the society and named after New Jersey Governor William Paterson in appreciation of his efforts to promote the society.

Hamilton commissioned civil engineer Pierre Charles L'Enfant, responsible for the layout of the new capital at Washington, D.C. to design the system of canals known as raceways supplying the power for the watermills in the new town. As a result Paterson became the nucleus for a burgeoning mill industry. In 1793, two years after the society's foundation, the falls was the site of the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in New Jersey. In 1812, it was the site of the state's first continuous roll paper mill. Other products whose construction used the falls as a power source include the Rogers Locomotive Works (1832), the Colt revolver (1837), and the USS Holland (SS-1)(1898). The oldest extant structure in the historic district is the Phoenix Mill, built in 1813.

The society continued operation until 1945 when its charter and property were sold to the city of Paterson. The area fell into disuse with the steep decline of industry in the region during the 20th century. In 1971, the Great Falls Preservation and Development Corporation was established to restore and redevelop the historic mill buildings and raceways.
The State of New Jersey has announced plans for a new urban state park in Paterson surrounding the Great Falls, called Great Falls State ParkThe master plan for the park calls for utilizing surrounding industrial areas for parklands that include a trail network and recreation areas, and creating new areas to view the falls.

The unique history of the falls and the city were described in the five-volume philosophical poem Paterson by William Carlos Williams. Among the episodes described in Williams' poem is the 1827 leap over the falls by Sam Patch, who later became the first known person to perform a stunt at Niagara Falls.

The falls were featured in the pilot as well as episode 6 of the first season of The SopranosPax Soprana in which two mobsters threw a drug dealer off the bridge and into the falls, to his death.
The Falls are viewable from Haines Overlook Park on the south and Mary Ellen Kramer Park on the north. Drive-by viewing is available from McBride Avenue where it crosses the river just above the Falls. A footbridge over the Falls gorge (historically, the eighth such bridge to span this spectacular chasm) also serves as an exciting outlook point from which many have captured the famous Falls rainbow. A visitor's center at the corner of Spruce and McBride Avenues, in the heart of the Great Falls Historic District, provides a historical overview of the falls and the industrial and cultural history of Paterson.

The Great Falls of Paterson - Garret Mountain is a National Natural Landmark designated in January 1967 and were expanded in April 1967 to include nearby Garret Mountain. Together they help demonstrate how jointed basaltic lava flow shaped the geology of the area during the Early Mesozoic period through both extrusion and intrusionThe designation protects the site from federal development, but not from local and state development. Redevelopment of the decayed adjacent industrial areas has been an ongoing controversial topic. An attempt in the 1990s to redevelop the adjacent Allied Textile Printing Co. (ATP) facility, destroyed by fire in the 1980s, into prefabricated townhouses was initially approved by the city but later repelled by a coalition of local citizens seeking to preserve the historic character of the district.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park was authorized to be added to the National Park System of the United States under the Omnibus Public Land Management ActOn March 30, 2009, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the falls as a national historical park, which would provide additional federal protections for the 77-foot waterfall. By 2011, Great Falls State Park and other land along the Passaic River were transferred to the federal government for the creation of the park. Formal establishment as a unit of the National Park System required action by the Secretary of the Interiorwhich took place November 7, 2011, when Secretary Salazar formally accepted lands on behalf of the United States, and dedicated the park as the nation's 397th park system unit.

The hydroelectric plant at the falls is operated by Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, which is considering commissioning another facility downstream at the Dundee Dam.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015