History of Hinchliffe Stadium
Hinchliffe Stadium (1932), a grand concrete oval planted majestically above
the Great Falls in Paterson, New Jersey, was placed on the State and National
Registers of Historic Places in 2004. It has a permanent niche in the nation's
sports and social history as one of a handful of extant stadiums that were
home to professional black sports during the so-called "Jim Crow" era. At a
time when baseball was an indisputable game of greats, Hinchliffe featured
some of the greatest ballplayers in America, players who ironically had no
access to the major leagues.
Also known as "City" Stadium, Hinchliffe was built by public funds at the start
of the Great Depression. It was meant as a sports haven for a generation of
working-class kids struggling through hard times in a city dependent on
industry. But financial reality demanded it also be a "paying investment," and
the City made it one. Its 10,000-seat capacity (more with temporary bleacher
seating) proved an instant draw not just for baseball but for a wide range of
sports: football, boxing, auto-racing, and major track and field meets, plus
star-studded musical and entertainment events.
The stadium's heyday lasted well into the 'fifties. Enlarged in 1964 after
ownership passed to the City school system, it kept a brief hold on
semi-professional football and had a fling with international soccer in the
1980s. A decline in maintenance led to its closing even to school athletics in
1997. A new movement, spearheaded by the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium and
fully endorsed by the Mayor and Schools Superintendent, is now underway to
restore Hinchliffe Stadium as the physical and spiritual core of a new Sports
Academy complex, and to promote it as a resource with designers of New
Jersey's first Urban Park at the Great Falls.
Most recently, the proposed federal legislation to create a National Park out of
Paterson's two Landmark Districts (Great Falls Natural Landmark and S.U.M.
Historic Industrial Landmark) has taken the daring step of defining the new
park to include Hinchliffe Stadium! Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., of the 8th
Congressional District, who has spearheaded legislation supported by the
entire New Jersey Congressional delegation, is author of a fine op-ed on this
whole National Park proposal. It can be found here.
During the recent official comment period on the Park Service's Special
Resource Study Report, Dr Flavia Alaya, on behalf of the Friends of Hinchliffe
Stadium, sent a letter of support for stadium inclusion within a Great
Falls/SUM National Park.
Click on links below for a more detailed history of Hinchliffe Stadium
The Stadium Movement (Part 1)
The Stadium Movement (Part 2)
Building the Stadium
The Federici Plaques
The Post-War Stadium
The Endangered Stadium
All information above can be found at WWW.HinchliffeStadium.Org
The Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium is a group of nonprofit volunteers dedicated to the protection
and preservation of the historic Hinchliffe Stadium.
I urge all to visit there website, learn there history, and make a donation to help preserve a very
important piece history. Not only to the city of Paterson, but a valuable piece of American history.