The bill to add Hinchliffe Stadium as part of the Great Falls National Park advanced out of the House Committee on Natural Resources on Wednesday, announced congressman Bill Pascrell.
The Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act, legislation drafted by the congressman, will revise the park’s boundaries to include the stadium inside the national park while allowing the city’s school district to retain the stadium’s ownership rights.
“It was my belief from the beginning that Hinchliffe should have been included within the National Park, and we are now one step closer to granting this historic stadium the recognition it deserves,” said Pascrell in his announcement. “I’m thrilled to see Hinchliffe move one step closer to receiving this distinct honor.”
The National Park Service will not obtain ownership rights over the stadium, but it will obtain a preservation easement that will grant the service the authority to preserve the stadium for posterity.
Last month, Pascrell testified before the congressional committee that oversees the National Park System, where he highlighted the importance of the stadium in American history.
The stadium is one of the few remaining sites where the Negro League played baseball. The stadium boasts 11 current National Baseball Hall of Fame members who played on the grounds of the now decrepit stadium that sits above the national park, behind School Five.
Some of the famous players include: Larry Doby, Josh Gibson, William Julius “Judy” Johnson, Oscar Charleston, and Leroy “Satchel” Paige.
“Hinchliffe Stadium is an iconic and historic landmark that deserves to be protected for future generations,” said Peter DeFazio, an Oregon congressman and ranking member of the committee. “I applaud my good friend Bill Pascrell for his years of work to protect this important site and was proud to cast a vote in favor of his legislation today in Committee.”
Last March (2013), the stadium was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The congressman will unveil an official plaque from the Department of Interior at an event scheduled for next Wednesday.
“This historic stadium symbolizes the strength and courage of the many players that graced its field, including Larry Doby, as they overcame great adversity in pursuit of a more perfect union,” said Pascrell.
Correction: The original article stated the stadium received historic designation “last month” when it in fact received the designation in March 2013 [J].