Hinchliffe Stadium and the SUM Building Receive State Historic Preservation Funding

PATERSON, NJ – The state will provide $500,000 for the stabilization of Hinchliffe Stadium under legislation signed on Monday by Gov. Chris Christie.

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Two other Paterson projects are among 58 statewide that will be receiving $10 million in funding under the legislation through the New Jersey Historic Trust. The list includes $180,000 for exterior restoration of the S.U.M. Great Falls power plant building and $50,000 for design work on the old city Post Office, now used as county government offices.

“Preserving these cultural and historic sites is critical to ensuring that future generations have the opportunity to learn more about New Jersey’s place in history,’’ Christie said in a press release.

Vacant for more than a decade, Hinchliffe has suffered from neglect and vandalism.  Built at the beginning of the Depression, Hinchliffe is one of few stadiums from the old Negro Leagues still standing.

Earlier this year, city officials approved the bonding of $1 million for the engineering work on Hinchliffe’s renovation. Officials estimate the whole job will cost between $10 million and $15 million.

Meanwhile, Algonquin, the utilities company that operates the power plant at the Great Falls, will provide $180,000 to match the state's grant for the work on the S.U.M. building, said Erik Lowe, chairman of the Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority

"It's part of the face of the Great Falls,'' Lowe said of the S.U.M. building. The grant and funding from Algonquin will ensure the 97-year-old building gets the restoration work it needs, Lowe said.

"It's a great day for the Municipal Utilities Authority, it's a great day for the hydraulic plant and it's a great day for the Great Falls National Historic Park,'' Lowe added.

The grants previously were approved by the New Jersey Historic Trust Board of Trustees and the Garden State Preservation Trust. The funding comes from the Garden State Preservation Trust Fund, which was created to preserve open space, farmland and historic sites and to encourage joint preservation efforts by the public and private sectors.

Here’s the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ description of the three Paterson projects slated for funding:


Hinchliffe Stadium

Grantee: Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium

Grant Award: $500,000

Work Proposed: Stabilization

Hinchliffe Stadium may be the last major New Deal-era stadium remaining in New Jersey. Opened in 1932, the Stadium was the site of the final meeting of the 1934 Paterson Labor Strike. The New York Black Yankees team of the Negro League used the stadium for twelve seasons beginning in 1933 and in 1936 and it was also used by the New York Cubans team. Hinchliffe is one of only three Negro League baseball stadiums of note still extant in the United States. The National Park Service is currently considering its potential to become a National Historic Landmark.

The building has been owned by Paterson Schools since 1963 but is in a deteriorated state and no longer in use (since 1997). Its decorative tiles of sports figures survive but the concrete is crumbling and heaving from water infiltration. Its Art-Deco geometric lines, red-tile roofing and decorative keystones survive.

The Trust grant will help stabilize the stadium. A preservation plan is currently being prepared under a 2009 Historic Trust planning grant and will guide preservation efforts. The project will stabilize significant portions of the stadium and help stop ongoing deterioration as well as provide protection from potential vandalism.


S.U.M. Great Falls Power Plant

Grantee: Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority

Grant Award: $180,000

Work Proposed: Exterior Restoration

The power plant is part of a long history of harnessing the power of the Passaic River, an exercise that began in 1792 through the efforts of Alexander Hamilton and others with the creation of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. The power plant, constructed in 1914 is a prominent historic resource that is still in its original use. The constant exposure to moisture (located within the constant mist generated by the falls) and freeze-thaw cycles has compromised the 1986 work, an environmental condition that cannot be changed. A 2008 Trust capital grant is repairing the deteriorated terra cotta cornice, which is a safety hazard and is allowing water infiltration into the masonry below.

The current Trust grant will help fund continued exterior restoration.


Old Paterson Post Office

Grantee: Passaic County

Grant Award: $50,000

Work Proposed: Preservation Plan and Feasibility Study

The Courthouse Annex was constructed in 1899 as the main post office for the City of Paterson. The Flemish styled building may have been based on buildings constructed in the Haarlem Market in the Netherlands. The brick and stone building includes stepped gables, stone tracery, a decorative tower, and steeply-pitched clay tiled roofs, among other elements.

The building continued to house the post office until 1932. The county acquired the building and in 1937 the building was rededicated as the Passaic County Administration Building and annexed to the adjacent county courthouse. The building continues to serve the public as a courthouse and administrative offices.

The Trust grant will help fund the preparation of a condition assessment with priority list of recommended treatments and the preparation of a maintenance plan.