The historic Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the few remaining places in the country where the legendary Negro League baseball teams held games, received a $300,000 grant courtesy of American Express, announced the National Trust for Historic Preservation Friday afternoon.
Grant money will be used to preserve the two original ticket booths at the art-deco style stadium’s entrance, according to the announcement.
Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres and other officials have been pushing for full restoration of the stadium for the past many years. Bare bone restoration of the stadium will cost $24 million, according to city officials.
A much more modernized stadium with an added visitor centers and amenities will cost $44 million.
Torres has vowed to see the stadium restored by 2018. The city council in June awarded a $1 million contract to New York-based Wank Adams Slavin Associates (WASA) for phase-one bidding administration, construction administration, phase-two schematic design, preparation of construction documents, and construction administration.
WASA has completed phase one of the design and field testing examining the existing condition of the site and designing construction documents for a part of the stadium, according to officials.
The endangered stadium was included within the boundaries of the Great Falls National Park through an act of the U.S. Congress in 2013.
Constructed during the Great Depression the stadium opened in 1932. It hosted both the New York Black Yankees and the New York Cubans. It provided a home for the segregated Negro League baseball teams. It produced National Baseball Hall of Fame stars like Larry Doby, Josh Gibson, William Julius “Judy” Johnson, Oscar Charleston, and Leroy “Satchel” Paige.
“The parks receiving these generous grants from American Express reflect important chapters in our nation’s rich history, from Negro League Baseball to architectural Modernism, and the railroad boom to the Civil Rights Era,” president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Stephanie K. Meeks said. “American Express’ timely support of these preservation projects at such diverse places will give more Americans access to appreciate these National Treasures for generations to come.”
The now recognized national treasure has been in disrepair since 1997.
“As the presenting partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged to save and sustain historic places that represent our country’s rich history,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation.
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded $1 million in grant money to preserve historic sites across the United States. Other recipients were the Pullman Historic District (Chicago, Illinois); Painted Desert Community Complex (Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona); and Sweet Auburn Historic District (Atlanta, Georgia). A fifth historic site to receive funds will be announced at a later date.
“The sites we have selected to receive funding reflect the great diversity of the American experience,” McClimon said. “By preserving these sites, we are helping to ensure their legacy and cultural significance for future generations.”