Patterson, NJ Flood, Mar 1902

Armory Opened and 110 Families Sheltered There
Mrs. Garret A. Hobart at Head of Relief Committee One Life Lost Water Starts to Recede

PATTERSON. N. J., March 2 — This city, so recently swept by fire, is now overwhelmed by flood. Three weeks ago, the greater part of its business section was burned out and to-day the quarter occupied
by the houses of the poorer class is inundated. Hundreds of families have been made homeless by the overflow of the Passaic River and the country for miles around the city is underwater.
So far, but one death has been reported. The great peril until late this evening was that the Spruce Street raceway might overflow, in which event a fearful loss of property in the manufacturing district would have followed. The raceway supplies water power for most of the mills along the water front. Right at this point, the city authorities placed expert engineers, who were instructed
to touch off a blast of dynamite to open a new channel for the immense volume of water held there, and by diverting it to the bed of the river in a new direction the authorities hoped to save a great deal of valuable property. In a cliff about seventy
feet below the Spruce Street bridge the experts
placed mines of dynamite, which if it was found necessary would have been exploded.
At 5 o'clock this afternoon, the water in the raceway was within three inches of the danger point, but four hours later it was reported that it had fallen from four to five inches below this point. The raceway
was built some fifty years ago by the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures, the most prominent member of which was ex-Gov. Colt, and the late Vice President Garret A. Hobart was a large stockholder.

March 2, 1902 edition of The New York Times