Chatham and the Passaic River have been inextricably linked for nearly 275 years, since the town's founding under the informal name of Day's Bridge.
The name of Day's Bridge honored John Day, builder of the first span across the river, which forms the eastern edge of the town but the true nature of the town's residents is reflected in the area's permanent name, selected by villagers in 1773. Chatham is named for Great Britain's William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham, who was a champion of American liberties during that revolutionary era. The Passaic, fondly referred to by locals as "The Fishawack," inspired the gradual flourishing of early mills and factories. Small shops, hotels, and especially the railroad brought nineteenth-century prosperity to Chatham's Main Street, and extended the influence of residents who commute to Newark and New York City. John T. Cunningham, New Jersey's preeminent historian, chronicles this growth and the relationship between populace and river through wonderful photographs and intriguing historic details.
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About the Author
The foremost authority on New Jersey history, Mr. Cunningham has written thirty-six books and more than two thousand articles. He also is an Emmy-award-winning filmmaker. With Chatham, he has combined this wealth of knowledge with over two hundred carefully selected images--on every page teaching us and guiding us back to a simpler and inspiring time.