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Hinchliffe Stadium receives landmark status, but recovery far from assured

Hinchliffe Stadium

Hinchliffe Stadium, former home to Negro Leagues baseball in Paterson, N.J., has received national historic landmark status, but it’s unclear whether it will do anything to help restore the run-down facility.

Facilities cited by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior receive a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice. It also clears the way for groups looking to renovate the ballpark to apply for federal funds. Whether there’s the will from local officials to make this happen remains to be seen. From The Record:

Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones, while pleased that Hinchliffe had gained the government’s notice, remained somewhat skeptical about the future of the stadium. He questioned whether there would be enough funding to transform what now is a battered, unusable relic into an modern attraction worth visiting.

“While there is a pause, there are more questions,” Jones said. “We need to move forward, but how we move is critical.”…

Though some distinctive elements remain, many of the terracotta tiles on the stadium’s distinctive entrance have fallen off. The concrete walls and floors of the grandstand are cracked and crumbling. Handrails are missing, the ticket windows are a wreck, and the floor of the stadium is choked with weeds and debris. Some of the seating areas are so deteriorated that they would probably have to be removed, he said.

Hinchliffe Stadium hosted the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans. Now, a facility once hosting Negro Leagues teams isn’t as much a rarity as others assume — Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Mo.; Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown, N.D.; Cardines Field in Newport, R.I.; Engel Stadium in Chattanooga; Point Stadium in Johnstown, Penn.; Durkee Field in Jacksonville; Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, Md.; McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C.; and Rickwood Field in Birmingham all were home to Negro Leagues teams — but the distinct Art Deco styling and the facility’s importance in the community makes the stadium worth preserving.

RELATED STORIES: Hinchliffe Stadium up for National Historic Landmark status; Hinchliffe Stadium up for $500,000 preservation grant


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