On an escarpment with views overlooking picturesque waterfalls that once powered Paterson, New Jersey’s mills, sits a neglected baseball park called Hinchliffe Stadium—one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Treasures. Multiple generations of Paterson's residents have only seen Hinchliffe closed and in a state of disrepair, but soon our nation will celebrate its return.
“At a time when baseball was an indisputable game of greats, Hinchliffe Stadium featured some of the greatest ballplayers in America and served as the home field for the elite New York Black Yankees, the New York Cuban Stars, and the Newark Eagles,” says Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “Thanks to a broad coalition of partners with an affirmative voice for historic preservation, this National Historic Landmark has a bright future and unique story to tell.”
Built by the city of Paterson from 1932-33, the 10,000-seat, open air stadium was a place with purpose, meant for holding outdoor athletic events, music concerts, and even auto races. It was a place for the people of Paterson to come together and run into friends and reconnect.
For Black Americans, the amphitheater-style stadium was home to and embodied the incredible spirit of Negro Leagues baseball. Hall of Famer Larry Doby had his tryout there and went on to become the first Black player to integrate the American League and help lead the Cleveland Indians to a World Series title in 1948. One of only a few stadiums nationally that have survived from that era, a new rehabilitation project will serve to revitalize it and help it to tell its story once more.
Bringing Hinchliffe Back to Life
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013, a year later Hinchliffe Stadium was included within the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, making it the only baseball venue in the National Park Service system.