Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the few remaining stadiums in the country associated with Negro League baseball. Built by the city from 1932-33 and owned by the Paterson Public Schools since 1963, it was closed in 1996 and fell victim to neglect and vandalism. In its heyday, the stadium hosted professional baseball and football games, high school athletic contests, auto racing, and rock concerts.
Built of cast concrete in the Art Deco style, Hinchliffe Stadium is where Paterson Eastside High School athlete Larry Doby was discovered by the Newark Eagles in 1942. He went on to break the color barrier in the American League. The New York Black Yankees called this stadium home for 12 seasons. If informed by a preservation plan, stabilization work on this stadium could provide lessons for the rehabilitation of similar historic structures.
- Develop and implement a community-based plan of action for the stabilization of Hinchliffe Stadium.
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Written by Brent Leggs, Project Manager
The preservation train in Paterson is moving full-speed ahead. After a three-year battle to locally designate Hinchliffe Stadium http://savingplaces.org/treasures/hinchliffe-stadium, the City Council approved its inclusion on the Paterson Register of Historic Places. This preservation win required consistent leadership from Paterson’s Historical Commission staff and local advocates to educate civic leaders about the consequences of local designation. As preservationists, we understand that perseverance is the key to igniting our cause locally.
Paterson is learning that its future revitalization and re-imagined identity is rooted in the protection of their historic assets. We applaud the Paterson City Council members for taking one more step towards rebuilding their community.
--Written by Walter Gallas, Project Manager
On March 11, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the designation of 13 new National Historic Landmarks (NHLs), including Hinchliffe Stadium.
Earlier, in February, the grant agreement between the New Jersey Historic Trust, the City of Paterson, Paterson Public Schools, and the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium was signed. The work of confecting the RFP for design and construction for the $1 million-plus rehabiliatation and stabilization project is the responsibility of the city's public works director and the schools' facilities director. At the Steering Committee's March 26 meeting, we began the discussion about the basic things the community will need to to do in order to develop a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds for the stadium's rehabilatation. This month, the Paterson School Board endorsed the local landmarking of the stadium, and the City Council began the process of passing the ordinance to make this a reality.
With my departure from the National Trust at the end of March, Brent Leggs of the Boston Field Office will become the project manager for Hinchliffe Stadium. It's been a pleasure working on this National Treasure.
Written by Walter Gallas, Project Manager
This week we learned that Hinchliffe Stadium took another step toward designation as a National Historic Landmark, a distinction it will share with only about 2,500 other places around the U.S., and as a surviving site with a rare association— National Negro Leagues baseball in the 1930s and 40s.
A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a federal designation for places that have "exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States," according to the National Park Service, which oversees this program.
The National Park System Advisory Board, at its meeting on November 28, accepted the recommendation of its National Landmarks Committee, leaving Hinchliffe poised to be designated officially sometime next year.
I joined members of the Hinchliffe Steering Committee and other supporters from Paterson as the National Landmarks Committee met earlier in November in Washington, D.C., and we testified in support of HInchliffe's designation.
What will NHL designation mean for Hinchliffe Stadium? The recognition could increase the stadium's (and Paterson's) national profile, making support for the rehabilitation of the stadium in a preservation-sensitive way a greater likelihood than ever before.
Written by Walter Gallas, Project Manager
Hinchliffe Stadium achieved a major milestone on the way to its initial rehabilitation with the unanimous vote of the City Council on November 27 to expend $1 million in previously bonded funds for the stadium. This was accomplished through some great teamwork among the Hinchliffe Steering Committee members.
We made successful presentations to Mayor Jones and School Superintendent Evans and to the City Council the week before. Then, Gianfranco Archimede, director of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission, shepherded the necessary Council resolution document through the legal hoops ahead of Tuesday’s vote. A number of the committee members came to testify in support of Hinchliffe—myself; Brian Lopinto of Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium; Alex Mendez of the school board; and Gianfranco Archimede. Committee member Chris Coke, director of Paterson’s Department of Public Works, also attended.
Also at the City Council to support us were: Kenneth Simpson of the Historic Preservation Commission; School Board president Chris Irving; and K.C. Melvin of B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. of Paterson.
This feat is substantial leverage for a $500,000 grant secured by the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium from the New Jersey Historic Trust. Next step: We go before the full school board.
Cal Ripken, Jr., National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 05, 2012
Hinchliffe Stadium’s role in the Negro Leagues and the legendary players who played there are not just significant to the history of baseball, but to the history of segregation, race relations and the integration of society in the United States. It deserves the opportunity to be restored into a place where tomorrow’s youth will be able to walk in the footsteps of yesterday’s legends, and experience the history of the country first-hand.
Brian Lopinto, Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, NJ on July 05, 2012
Growing up two blocks away from where over 20 baseball Hall of Famers played is a baseball fan's dream. While there are artifacts that pertain to the Negro Leagues at the baseball Hall of Fame, Hinchliffe Stadium is where the games were played. It is a tangible piece of African-American history.