GARRET MOUNTAIN RESERVATION
Paterson, Passaic County, NJ
South of I-80, west of Route 19, and southwest of Paterson. Take US 80 and get off at the exit for "Madison Avenue - Clifton." Follow Madison Avenue to Main Street. Turn right onto Main Street. You will pass St. Joseph's Hospital. Turn left onto Barclay Street (corner opposite the hospital). Follow Barclay past Marshall Street (where it becomes Valley Road). The Reservation entrances is on the right just after crossing over Route 20.
The Lenni Lenape Indians first occupied this area. They used to drive deer off the cliffs of Garret Mountain.
The area east of Patterson was settled by the Dutch starting around 1679. The Falls were first seen by a white man in 1680 (soon followed by Dutch settlements).
Paterson was the first planned industrial city in the United States. This was partly due to the influence of Alexander Hamilton. Later it became known as Silk City, because silk was manufactured here.
One story of how Garret Mountain got its name, sometime after 1812, is that members of a fraternal organization, the "Garret Society" (named from the group's habit of holding secret meeting in garrets), lugged an artillery piece up to the top of the mountain and set it off on the Forth of July, waking the entire city. A better story is that the Jersey Dutch language had the term "Gebarrack" meaning "at the mountain." It was corrupted into "Garret." (Source: William G. Scheller 1986:20)
From the top of Garret Mountain one can see the Lambert Castle. It was named for Catholina Lambert, who was born in the village of Goose Eye, England in 1834. The son of working class parents, Lambert came to America at the age of 17 to seek his fortune. He found that fortune in silk, and by 1890 he had become one of the largest mill owners in Paterson, New Jersey, the Silk City of the New World. In 1892, Lambert built the castle, then known as "Belle Vista" on Garret Mountain overlooking Paterson. More than just a residence, the castle served as an elegant setting for his fine collection of European and American painting and sculpture.
Between 1881 and 1900 there were nearly 140 strikes in Paterson. But, in labor history, the city is best remembered for the strike of 1913. The conflict began in January of that year when eight hundred workers walked off their jobs to protest the decision that employees would work four looms instead of two. Within a month, nearly 300 mills were closed and 24,000 employees were on strike. And so, Paterson became the place of a very famous workers' strike, which proved the undoing of the socialist Wobblies (International Workers of the World). Among the so-called outside agitators were Big Bill Haywood (one of the organization's founders), Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (hero of many free-speech fights), Carlo Tresca, and Patrick Quinlan (president of IWW). Many famous New York City literati came out in support of the Paterson strike, including the famous journalist Jack Reed (from the movie "Reds" with Norman Beatty), writer Upton Sinclair, and Greenwich Village radicals such as Walter Lippmann, Max Eastman, Henrietta Rodman, and Margaret Sanger.
The strike hurt everyone involved. The struggle dragged on for seven months with the employees eventually returning to their jobs. The employers were hurt because the strike badly damaged the silk industry.
Mounting debts forced Lambert to mortgage his estate in 1914 and to sell a considerable portion of his vast art holdings in 1916. Despite Lambert's financial troubles, he managed to live comfortably at the castle until his death in 1923. After his death, his son Walter sold the castle to the city of Paterson. For several years, it was used as a fresh air camp for disadvantaged children, and in 1934 it was bought by the Passaic County Park Commission. Today, Lambert castle serves as headquarters for both the Passaic County Park Department and the Passaic County Historical Society.
On top of the mountain is the 70-foot Lambert tower used as an observatory and summer house. (Its entrance is now sealed.) Lambert died in 1923 at the age of 88.
Lambert castle has one room with the furniture used by Garret A. Hobart of Paterson, who was Vice-President of the United States in McKinley's first administration.
World War II -- a 1911 fire tower (still remaining) on Garret Mountain was used as an early aircraft warning station; barracks were also built.
The Passaic County Park System acquired the Lambert Castle property and 575 adjacent acres in 1928. It now is the headquarters for both the Park System and the Passaic County Historical Society. The mansion can be toured.
An amusement park was situated where Garret Mountain Reservation is today. The amusement park was part of a 450-acre purchase made by the Passaic County Park Commission in the 1920s.
Located on the First Watchung Mountain. In this area the First Watchung Mountain is cloven by the Passaic River and the Passaic Falls.
The elevation is less than 600 feet.
You can hike up to the tower from Lambert Castle. There is paved path uphill to stone steps. The path parallels the road. It takes you past picnic areas and to Barbour Pond. (See Scheller 1986 for a full description.)
Joseph Labriola, Peter Both and the Torrey Botanical Society
Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) 4/08/00
Acer rubrum (red maple) 4/08/00
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple) 4/08/00
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Albizia julibrissin (silk tree)
Alnus glutinosa (black alder)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush) 4/08/00
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch) 4/08/00
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fagus sylvatica (copper beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Ilex opaca (American holly) planted
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Magnolia kobus var. stellata (star magnolia) 4/08/00
Magnolia soulangiana (saucer magnolia)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Prunus avium (sweet cherry) 4/08/00
Prunus persica (peach) 4/08/00
Prunus "Kwanzan" (Japanese cherry)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus (sand cherry) planted
Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear) 4/08/00
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus baileyi (dogwood) planted
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch-hazel)
Ilex glabra (inkberry) planted
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/08/00
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)
Rhododendron spp. (rhododendrons) planted
Rhus copallina (winged sumac)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa carolina (pasture rose)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus flagellaris (dewberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix discolor (pussy willow) 4/08/00
Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)
Syringa vulgaris (common lilac)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 4/08/00 soon
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Menispermum canadense (moonseed)
Polygonum perfoliatum (mile a minute vine)
Polygonum scandens (climbing false buckwheat) Bill & El Standaert are trying to rip it all out (good luck!) 6/05/04
Smilax glauca (sawbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Wisteria japonica (Japanese wisteria)
Acalypha rhomboidea (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia) 9/15/01
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Apocynum cannabinum (dog bane)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 9/15/01
Aster pilosus (aster) 9/15/01
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Bidens bipinnata (Spanish needles)
Bidens frondosa (devil's beggar ticks)
Bidens laevis (showy bur marigold) 9/15/01
Chelone glabra (white turtlehead) 9/15/01
Chenopodium album (lamb's quarters)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 9/15/01
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle)
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm) 9/15/01waning
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 9/15/01
Corydalis sempervirens (pale corydalis) 9/15/01 a few in bloom
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 9/15/01
Desmodium paniculatum (panicled tick trefoil)
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil) 9/15/01 one in bloom
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) 4/08/00
Elodea sp. (waterweed)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily) 4/08/00
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) 9/15/01
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 9/15/01
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod) 9/15/01
Galinsoga sp. (gallant soldiers) 9/15/01
Hedyotis caerulea (bluets) 4/08/00
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) 9/15/01
Heteranthera sp. (mud plantain)
Hieracium sp. (hawkweed -- multi heads; hairy stem & lvs exc under leaf) 9/15/01
Hypericum gentianoides (orange grass St. Johnswort) 9/15/01
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort) 9/15/01
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 9/15/01
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lespedeza angustifolia (narrow-leaved bushclover)
Lespedeza capitata (round headed bushclover)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 9/15/01
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 9/15/01 one
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia water horehound) 9/15/01
Lysimachia palustris (water purslane)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 9/15/01
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)
Medicago sativa (alfalfa) 9/15/01
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Mollugo verticillata (carpetweed) 9/15/01
Myriophyllum spicatum (water milfoil) 9/15/01
Nymphaea odorata (white water lily) 9/15/01
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 9/15/01
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 9/15/01
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 9/15/01
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) 9/15/01
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper) 9/15/01
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb) 9/15/01
Polygonum virginianum (Virginia knotweed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes trifoliolata (tall rattlesnake root) 9/15/01
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 9/15/01
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad leaved dock)
Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead) 9/15/01
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) 9/15/01
Silene latifolia (white campion) 9/15/01
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) 9/15/01
Solidago bicolor (silverrod) 9/15/01
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod) 9/15/01
Spiranthes cernua (nodding ladies' tresses) 9/15/01
Stellaria media (common chickweed)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Syringa sp. (lilac)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 4/08/00 9/15/01
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 9/15/01
Trifolium repens (white clover) 9/15/01
Typha latifolia (cattail)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed) 9/15/01
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola sp. (violet)
Wolffia sp. (water meal)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Carex gynandra or crinita (sack sedge)
Carex lurida (sack sedge)
Cyperus bipartitus (flat sedge)
Cyperus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)
Eleocharis sp. (spike rush)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)
Scirpus pungens (bulrush)
Agrostis stolonifera (grass)?
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Danthonia spicata (poverty grass)
Digitaria sanguinalis (hairy crab grass)
Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Eragrostis pectinacea (grass)?
Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cutgrass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (panic grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Woodsia obtusa (blunt-leaved woodsia)
Rydings, Joseph. 1934. Country Walks in Many Fields: Being Certain Choice Annals of the Paterson Rambling Club. Paterson, NJ: Press of the Morning Call.
Inspecting Art Treasures
On a Saturday afternoon, September 24th, 1904, the members of the Paterson Rambling Club met at the City Hall loop at 2 o'clock, and boarded one of the Main Street trolley cars, their destination being Lambert's Castle, on the slope of Garret Mountain.
From the foot of Barclay Street the Club walked up the hill to the lodge, where a path was taken leading over the lawn to the castle. . . .
Arriving at the castle, the party was met by Mr. Lambert, who received the club guests with a cordial and warmhearted welcome, giving them directions to "ramble" over the great picture and art galleries, and to inspect the wonderful collection of art treasures from every corner of the globe.
. . . the hospitable owner of the mansion again joined the party, making everyone feel welcome to see the wonders of his fine collection of curios, plants and flowers, and personally describing many of them to the large party gathered around him for information.
. . . the keys of the observatory were handed to the guests, who proceeded up through the gardens and woods to the summit of the rocks. . . .
From this tower, Mr. Rydings headed the party and led the way over the rocks and through the cliff passes to the spot famous for its echo, which was distinctly heard. The whole party here sat down on the ledge of the mountain, and a number of recitations of poetry were given by Joseph Rydings . . ..
After this enjoyable gathering on the mountain top the members of the club wandered at will over the rocks and through the woods, collecting and discussing specimens of botany and gathering bouquets of golden rod, autumn asters, immortelles and other wild flowers which cover the mountain and grow in profusion.
The delightful aroma of pennyroyal scented the mountain side . .. The prickly pear cactus grew on the bleak portion of the rock, and nearby the twining stems of the bitter-sweet won the admiration of all. Other plants gathered were the herb, Robert Cranesbill, the jewel-weed, the sweet fern, the mountain sumach, and both the true and the false Solomon's seal.
Reassembling at the tower, the party returned through the castle grounds, and forming in procession four deep, headed by the leader, the president and a sweet little child who joined in the ramble, marched down the driveway past the front of the castle to the lodge, where a short, informal meeting was held to announce the next ramble.
One of the Club's most delightful and memorable outings was enjoyed on October 30th, 1904 when about 40 members took a ramble over the Notch Mountain. On the way they called at the beautiful residence of William B. Gourley, where the party was photographed on the picturesque lawn. The "Ode of Welcome" was sung, and Mr. Gourley cordially welcomed the Ramblers and extended his good wishes. It was a glorious day of sunshine, and as the party journeyed through the dense cedar woods in the neighborhood of the Notch reservoir they came across the remains of the hermitage or hut of old Nicholas Murphy, the recluse who had lived in that secluded woods alone for forty years. . . . On this delightful ramble the witch hazel was at its best, and Mr. Rydings, the esteemed leader, explained the uses and the medicinal virtues of the beautiful tree.
Lunch was taken on the top of the precipitous and romantic cliff known as Washington's Rock, and the members will never forget the glorious view as seen from the elevated spot in the clear and bracing atmosphere.
A Trip to Garret Mountain
. . . Those who are familiar with the mountain are aware that there are several approaches to it, but the one oftenest taken is that where the ascent begins immediately after crossing the canal bridge at Stony Road. Up we go, and after every hundred yards or so, we may with advantage, turn around and look at the northern part of the city as it comes more and more within the view. Out in the distance rise the Goffle hills with the bold peak of High Mountain standing in their midst; and further on the horizon touches the Ramapo Mountains and, scattered here and there upon the landscape, are villages and white farm houses, pleasant to look upon. Our own city at this point adds much to the beauty of the scene -- the Falls and Westside Park and the winding river being the chief features of attraction. On we go, and are soon beneath the dark shade of the hemlock grove, wild and romantic. Who would dream that a city with a population of a hundred thousand or more lay within a stone's throw of a spot so arcadian as this?
. . .We now walk on leisurely -- for few people would hurry through a scene so enchanting as this -- and then we pass through a rustic site and come out in the open plain again. . . . We now walk along the edge of the cliff and the mountain slopes down to the railroad through meadowland which in spring is green as emerald. The botanical reader will learn with interest that one of the rarest of our native wild flowers is found growing among the fragments of broken trap-rock just below this part of the mountain. Village doctors and herbalists call it blood-root, and the name is well applied. . . . I found the plant here for the first time last spring, having only met it once before in the woods along the Palisades. We continued our walk and soon came to the forest again. Oak, cedar, hemlock and birch thickly growing together began to embower us. In spring the ground is adorned with a rich variety of flowers. The rocks are draped with the brilliant red of the mountain pink, the nodding bells of the columbine embellish the groves; white anemones hide in the shade and the exquisite blue of hepatica adds one more to the floral treasures of the vernal season. Today the flowers are gone, and the snow covers the mountain. It has drifted heavily in the rocky glens and forms a charming background for the dark cedars and hemlock.
After a while we come to Lambert's tower, an admirable landmark which takes in a view of the country for many miles on every side. . . .We leave the tower, and in doing so we just venture to the edge of the cliff and look down. There is a fissure in the rock which venturesome youngsters used to employ some years ago, if they wished to descend the mountain from this spot. It was a dangerous passage, and by annexing it and closing the entrance to it, Mr. Lambert may take credit for saving many boys from the danger of breaking their necks. It used to be called the "Devil's Staircase." . . .
Leaving alike the tower, the "Devil's Stairway," and . . . we come at once to an open plain and this is where the prickly pears grow. This cactus plant grows nowhere on the mountain so profusely as it does here, and it certainly is wonderful, for the soil on the rock is so thin it seems a wonder that the rain does not wash it away. . . .
A short walk further and we come to a glen, a cleft or notch in the mountain, and this is the extent of our ramble in a southerly direction today.
We might leave the mountain at this place and descend to the Notch Road, but we will follow the glen in a westerly direction. A little brook runs through it, and on this cold winter day the valley is so well sheltered from the north wind that we begin to enjoy the pleasure of the change at once. This is where the laurel grows, and there is enough of it to crown all the poets and heroes that the world has produced from Alexander the Great to Admiral Dewey. It is here where the everlasting flowers grow. The slopes are white with them in the early part of September. Winter has one special vegetable charm, and it makes this valley glow in certain places. I allude to the cecrastus vine, the bright scarlet berries of which adorn the trees and climb the rocky cliff, and blend their bright colors with the whiteness of the untrodden snow.
The valley now comes to an end and the stream empties itself into Barbour's Pond, a beautiful lake when it is filled with water, but the element sometimes fails, and the place becomes a pond only in name. . . .
.. . We soon come to the end of the lake and leave the mountain where a row of big cherry trees skirt the road opposite to an old farmstead, now burned down. A short walk down this old country land and we come again to Stony Road, to the spot where we first started off.
. . . Our next ramble will be from the glen opposite Albion Place, along the mountain top till we come to the Great Notch.
. . . I climbed the hillside from the Notch Road at a point just opposite Albion Place, and rested for a short while near where the old spring used to be. The spring, however, has gone, and merry picnic parties will no longer gather beside it and pluck branches from the fragrant bush of sweet-briar that bent over it. It was never a very clear spring, and possibly it may have been abandoned for sanitary reasons. There is a fine view of the southern and western parts of the city from here, and on a clear day we can catch a glimpse of Staten Island and can see the Statue of Liberty and the towers of Brooklyn Bridge, and many of the big skyscrapers of New York. Very conspicuous, too, are the graceful spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral when the sun is preparing to go down, and then the eastern skies are clear.
Having climbed thus far and recovered my breath, I started out again to ascend the most difficult part of the mountain. . . .
It was well that nothing of a diabolical nature should mar a spot so beautiful as this, even though it be so hard to climb. It is the place in early spring where Dutchman's breeches grow. The visitor to these mountains can never have realized their full charm unless he has come here in May and seen how bewitching these delicate pale yellow blossoms of the dicentra nestle in the crevices formed by the broken pieces or rock. . . .
Now that I have climbed the mountain successfully, I can "take mine ease" like Sir John Falstaff in his tavern and look around. What a glorious panorama! To the north the eye takes in the Goffle range and the Ramapo mountains beyond. To the south the prospect stretches until it reaches to where Bayonne and Elizabeth-port settle down in front of Staten Island. In the east the dark grey ridge of the Palisades appear against the sky, while towards the west one range of hills arise behind another until we see the spot where the white towers and spires of Boonton seem to touch the horizon.
I continue my way and come to what is perhaps the wildest and most romantic part of Garret Mountain. It is known locally as Washington's Rock. There is a faint tradition that George Washington came here and used it for a point of observation when his army was in retreat through Jersey. . . .
I follow the valley which curves round the side of the cliff and am soon in the dense woods once more. . . .
After a while I come upon an Italian, an old man, who is chopping down a cedar tree. He starts at my approach, and we regard each other as Robinson Caruso and Friday must have done when they came face to face. The old man seems to think that I am the owner of the wood . "Eyes eet all right?" he asks humbly, glancing down at the fallen trees. I answered that it was all right -- and so it was as far as I was concerned. He smiled contentedly and began to chop away again. . . .
At length I came to the reservoir, and here the ground became familiar. . . .
I came here when the reservoir was being constructed and when a little army of Italian laborers were employed on the job. Their village of rudely constructed shanties covered the valley below, and today about half a dozen of these tenements remain. . . . Leaving the reservoir by a path that runs by the brook, I crossed over the Newark pipe line and came out on the road which leads through the Notch to Little Falls. Here Garret Mountain comes to an end, and here my humble sketch likewise comes to a termination.