Building a Place for History
Brian Lo Pinto was born in Paterson, New Jersey and was raised two blocks away from Hinchliffe Stadium. As a young child walking past the stadium, he knew that this cavernous structure could not have just been built for high school athletics. In 1997, when Hinchliffe Stadium was closed due to neglect by the Paterson Public Schools, he contacted the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The Hall of Fame responded and stated: “The Hall of Fame certainly recognizes the significance of Hinchliffe Stadium and it is represented in our Library’s research collections.” That statement, from the highest authority on baseball, charged LoPinto to embark on his own independent research on Hinchliffe Stadium. In 2000, as a student at William Paterson University, he worked on a documentary about Paterson. During the shooting of the documentary, LoPinto met Dr. Flavia Alaya, a Ramapo College professor and member of the New Jersey Historic Sites Council. A chance meeting and a casual conversation about Hinchliffe Stadium prompted LoPinto and Alaya to form the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium in 2002, a volunteer non-profit advocacy organization. Since 2002, The Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium created awareness about the stadium’s National Significance as one of the few remaining Negro Leagues stadiums in the United States. Thanks to the generosity of the New Jersey Historic Trust and the 1772 Foundation, the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium was able to receive funding of over $500,000. Since there is no cost to running the organization, 100% of the funding will go toward the Phase One rehabilitation of Hinchliffe Stadium. The Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium reached out and developed a strong relationship with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). The partnership has yielded Hinchliffe’s placement on the NTHP’s “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list, becoming a charter member of the “National Treasures” program, and a $300,000 grant from American Express. The aforementioned strengthens what the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium has known since 2002: that Hinchliffe Stadium is Nationally Significant.