Also known as "City" Stadium, Hinchliffe was built by public funds at the start of the Great Depression. It was meant as a sports haven for a generation of working-class kids struggling through hard times in a city dependent on industry. But financial reality demanded it also be a "paying investment," and the City made it one. Its 10,000-seat capacity (more with temporary bleacher seating) proved an instant draw not just for baseball but for a wide range of sports: football, boxing, auto-racing, and major track and field meets, plus star-studded musical and entertainment events.
The stadium's heyday lasted well into the 'fifties. Enlarged in 1964 after ownership passed to the City school system, it kept a brief hold on semi-professional football and had a fling with international soccer in the 1980s. A decline in maintenance led to its closing even to school athletics in 1997. A new movement, spearheaded by the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium and fully endorsed by the Mayor and Schools Superintendent, is now underway to restore Hinchliffe Stadium as the physical and spiritual core of a new Sports Academy complex, and to promote it as a resource with designers of New Jersey's first Urban Park at the Great Falls.
Most recently, the proposed federal legislation to create a National Park out of Paterson's two Landmark Districts (Great Falls Natural Landmark and S.U.M. Historic Industrial Landmark) has taken the daring step of defining the new park to include Hinchliffe Stadium! Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., of the 8th Congressional District, who has spearheaded legislation supported by the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation, is author of a fine op-ed on this whole National Park proposal. It can be found here.