April 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM
PATERSON, NJ - Legendary Hinchliffe Stadium is scheduled for a massive cleanup effort next week.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the City of Paterson, alongside the Hinchliffe Steering Committee, will host a community cleanup event on Wednesday, April 16 at Hinchliffe Stadium in support of the restoration of the former Negro League baseball arena.
Built by the City of Paterson in 1932 and owned by Paterson Public Schools since 1963, Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the few remaining stadiums in the country associated with Negro League baseball. The New York Black Yankees, New York Cubans and the Newark Eagles all took the field at Hinchliffe Stadium, which also for years was the site of varsity football games played by Eastside and John F. Kennedy high schools.
“Thank you to all the participants in the community cleanup event working to restore one of the city and nation’s premier cultural and historic sites,” said Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones. “Rebuilding our cities and the major attractions in them is a job for everyone who understands the need for preservation of our history and we are grateful for your efforts,” Mayor Jones said.
Hundreds of volunteers in Paterson will gather in honor of Negro League Baseball players Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, a Paterson native and Hall of Famer, and others who played at Hinchliffe Stadium. Doby was the second African-American to integrate professional baseball after Robinson.
“Hinchliffe Stadium represents an irreplaceable piece of our nation’s history,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It is here that some of our nation’s greatest athletes took to the field and courageously led the movement to integrate professional sports and move our country toward greater equality. We are honored to bring our HOPE crew to work alongside the Paterson community to restore this iconic stadium.”
The National Trust’s HOPE Crew program will support the community clean up event and provide an estimated 500 volunteers of all ages the opportunity to paint the exposed walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. The effort will remove the graffiti and give new life to the vacant structure. HOPE Crew or “Hands-onPreservation Experience” Crew is a new initiative of the National Trust that trains thousands of people in useful, hands-on skills in historic preservation projects.
Prior to the cleanup, the National Park Service and the Paterson Board of Education will host the Hinchliffe Stadium National Historic Landmark Ceremony at 10 a.m. The community cleanup event ends at 4 p.m.