Colt Gun Mill & Allied Textile Printing (ATP)


The Patent Arms Manufacturing Company, one of Paterson, New Jersey's earliest industries, lies in ruins beneath the majestic Great Falls of the Passaic River. As tourists from all over the world flock to witness the Falls' breathtaking beauty, a monument to Samuel Colt, the inventor of the Colt revolver gun, languishes in a state of disrepair.

Samuel Colt's newly patented repeating firearm became a vital tool on the American frontier, and the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company produced roughly 5,000 musket rifles and revolvers. The Gun Mill, a four-story structure, was erected on the original site of a failed nail factory and rolling mill. In a nod to its purpose, the Gun Mill property was adorned with wooden gun picket fences, and even a weathervane shaped like a gun capping the belltower.

However, poor sales led to the company's demise around 1842, and it was taken over by partners John Ryle and G.W. Murray, founders of Allied Textile Printing (ATP), who began producing sewing silk and other textiles. They expanded and added numerous buildings to the original Gun Mill property. Samuel Colt, undeterred by this setback, purchased land in Hartford in 1851 and established the East Armory Company (Colt Armory), which remains standing to this day, punctuated by the striking 'Blue Onion Dome' that adorns the Hartford skyline. The building was partially destroyed by a fire, along with the Russian-inspired dome, on February 4, 1864, but was subsequently rebuilt. It is now home to several businesses and offices.

Unfortunately, I realized that I did not take a single photo of the Colt Gun Mill, but rather of the dilapidated buildings of the former Allied Textile Printing. Based on other pictures I found on other sites, the Gun Mill was constructed of stone, while other buildings were made of brick and steel girders, most likely the Allied buildings. One outbuilding was even used to manufacture radiators around the 1870s by Joshua Mason.

While the Colt Gun Mill may be in ruins, the Hinchliffe Stadium above the Great Falls was once vacant and is now undergone extensive renovation and is set to open sometime later this year. Likewise, the entrance to the Gun Mill/Allied Textile buildings was also open, as it abutted a viewing pad of the Great Falls. Although the site was fairly accessible to the public, it was not entirely safe, I can remember back in 2016, I came across people who were also curious as I am about the ruins. Once the general public feels safe to enter ruins of any kind because of curiosity, it is a good time to leave because other nefarious people also enter. At the time I was ‘solo doloing’, it still made me uneasy toting my camera around a place where the thicket of bushes and trees would give cover to assault and robbery.

Currently, the Gun Mill is fenced off to prevent trespassers and protect the shored-up buildings and state plans are underway to convert the area into an open-view historical park for public use soon. Further information on the plans can be found on the website. 

Other names associated: Colt Firearms, Colt Armory, 

Current Status: 

*Buildings remain still but fenced off from trespassers. Mar 2023


1. Archimede, Gianfranco, "The Colt Mill", Preservation NJ

2. "The Colt Gun Mill", Paterson Friends of the Great Falls

3. EsseXploreR, "The Colt Gun Mill/Allied Textile Mills", The Forgotten Past of New Jersey, December 11, 2015

4. Dragone, Gabriella, "$2.2 Million in Grants for Colt Gun Mill Stabilization and Vista Park Improvements Project Earns City Council Approval", TAPintoPaterson, February 19, 2023

5. Kofsky, Jared, "New Park Could Come to the Former Colt Gun Mill Site in Paterson", Jersey Digs, April 29, 2020

6. "The East Armory Complex", National Park Service

7. Valmontcsz, "Colt Gun Mill/Allied Textile Printers", VJUrbex, May 10, 2015

8. "Allied Textile Mill / Colt Patent Arms Paterson, NJ", SitesofNJ

9. "Samuel Colt | Double-Tapped Barrel Of The Colt Revolver", Obscurangulo, March 5, 2022

10. "Samuel Colt",, March 29, 2023

11. "Islands of Abandonment", Lucky Cigarette

12. Giudice, Vinny, "Paterson Mill Fires", Paterson Fire Journal, June 22, 2008

13. Wallin, Brian, "Samuel Colt and His Legendary Model 1860 Army Revolver", Varnum Continentals, January 1, 2019


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