WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9) announced that the National Park Service has designated Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. The ballpark was originally built in 1932 and was the home of the Negro Leagues' New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans, as well as the 1936 Colored Championships of the Nation.
"Hinchliffe Stadium is an important part of the history of this country and my hometown of Paterson, and today's designation is a big victory for Silk City families," said Sen. Lautenberg, a Paterson native. "Hinchliffe Stadium represents the remarkable progress we have made as a country-from a time when many of our nation's greatest ballplayers were not allowed to set foot on a Major League field because of their skin color. I commend the National Park Service for making this designation, which will help ensure that future generations are able to visit and enjoy this special part of Paterson's rich culture and history."
"Hinchliffe Stadium was a field of dreams for ballplayers who were judged not by their skill and talent, but by the color of their skin. And now, decades after the stain of segregation has been lifted from our nation's favorite pastime, Hinchliffe stands as a beacon for hope and equality," said Sen. Menendez. "Its very presence reminds us of how far we've come as a nation. I am extremely pleased that with its designation as a National Historic Landmark, this Paterson field will be preserved for generations to come."
"Today marks a great day in Paterson's history and I applaud the National Park Service for giving Hinchliffe Stadium the distinction it deserves by including it on the list of National Historic Landmarks," said Rep. Pascrell. "As one of the last remaining Negro League stadiums in our nation, this designation allows us to honor the many athletes, including Larry Doby, who proudly called this historic stadium home. Standing within the larger footprint depicting Paterson's many historical contributions to our nation, Hinchliffe adds yet another chapter to the Silk City's rich history. It is my hope that this designation will lead to a renewed commitment not only to preserve Hinchliffe, but revitalize it for future generations and eventually lead to its inclusion in the Great Falls National Historical Park."
On November 5, 2012, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez sent a letter to Paul Loether, Chief of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark Program at the National Park Service, urging the designation of Hinchliffe Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. Their letter can be viewed here. Rep. Pascrell submitted a letter in the same month to the National Park Service also expressing support for the designation of Hinchliffe Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. That letter can be found here.
In 2009, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Representative Pascrell introduced the "Great Falls National Historical Park Act," which was passed as a part of the "Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009." The measure designated the Great Falls in Paterson as a National Historic Park and commissioned a study to assess Hinchliffe's potential to be named a National Historic Landmark and evaluate options for maintaining its historic integrity, paving the way for today's announcement.
Eleven current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame played on Hinchliffe's grounds, including Larry Doby, Josh Gibson, William Julius "Judy" Johnson, Oscar Charleston, and Leroy "Satchel" Paige. In addition to hosting Negro League baseball, Hinchliffe Stadium was also home to three professional football teams, many auto racing events, and professional boxing. Located within Paterson's National Landmark Historic District, the stadium is directly above the Great Falls National Historical Park.