U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) today joined dignitaries from Paterson, across New Jersey, and throughout the nation celebrating the rebirth of historic Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the few remaining Negro League stadiums left in existence. The restored stadium is due in part to support from the federal government secured by Pascrell’s office over the years.
“If the Great Falls is the crown jewel of Paterson, Hinchliffe is our Hope Diamond,” said Pascrell. “For years and years, I fought to make Hinchliffe a National Landmark and we succeeded in passing a law adding the stadium to the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in 2015. As one of just a handful of Negro League stadiums left, we knew we had to protect this hallowed ground. We never gave up and pursued every avenue. Federal investments from the American Rescue Plan, National Park Service grants and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits were essential to getting this restoration done. Alexander Hamilton used the power of the Great Falls to transform our city and birth the Industrial Revolution. Every generation of Patersonians has built on this legacy. Today is no different and now new generations will get to enjoy this great park.”
Hinchliffe Stadium first opened in 1932 with assistance from funds from the New Deal. The stadium was home to the New York Black Yankees of the Negro League for twelve years. Legends of the Negro leagues like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston all played in Hinchliffe. Paterson native Larry Doby, the second black player to play in Major League Baseball, was discovered by the Newark Eagles of the Negro National league after a tryout at Hinchliffe Stadium.
History of federal support for Hinchliffe Revival
In 2009, Congressman Pascrell introduced the Great Falls National Historical Park Act, which was signed into law by President Obama later that year. Included in this bill was a provision requiring the study of preservation and interpretation options for Hinchliffe Stadium and a recommendation by the National Park Service on whether to include the stadium on its list of National Historical Landmarks.
In 2013, Hinchliffe Stadium was officially designated as a National Historic Monument.
In 2014, Pascrell introduced the Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act, which was included in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. This law expanded the boundary of the Great Falls National Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium. In 2018, the National Park Service awarded $500,000 to the City of Paterson through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program for facade restoration.
In total, the restoration of Hinchliffe Stadium cost $103 million and was funded through a private-public partnership between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Community Capital, the City of Paterson, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), and Goldman Sachs. Financing for the housing piece of the project included 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits financed through the NJHMFA, which generated $11.4 million in project funding.