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New London seeks National Register status for Hatten

Hatten Stadium in New London dates back to 1935. The project was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Work Progress Administration to provide employment to Americans during the Great Depression. File Photo

State provides grant for consultant

By Robert Cloud

Christine Cross, director of the New London Public Museum, has secured a state grant for a consultant to help place Hatten Stadium on the National Register of Historic Places.

She shared the news with the Parks and Recreation Committee at its June 6 meeting.

“On April 28, I submitted the National Register questionnaire to the State Historic Preservation Office,” Cross said regarding the first step in the process to see if Hatten Park was eligible for nomination.

On May 15, she learned that the state office had approved Hatten Park and would provide a grant to pay a consultant to write the nomination.

Cross said a Fuldner Heritage Fund grant will pay for the consultant and for the request for proposals from consultants.

“The Historic Preservation Office will handle the entire process,” Cross said.

She estimated that the process for writing the nomination application will take about 18 months to research, write, submit and be reviewed.

“The consultant will need to do a site visit to the park as well as the museum,” Cross said.

She said the public museum will provide the consultant with access to the it’s collection.

Sites seeking recognition by the National Register need to be considered according to one of four criteria, Cross said, noting that Hatten Park could fall under two criteria.

Historical significance

Under criterion A, the “park is associated with events that have a significant contribution to the broad pattern of our history,” Cross said. “So that would be where the WPA project comes in.”

In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Work Projects Administration funded the stadium’s construction as an employment opportunity for local men during the Great Depression.

Under criterion C, the National Register considers distinctive characteristics of the type, period of construction. That includes both the landscape and the building,” Cross said.

She noted that the city engaged Franz Aust as the landscape architect for the Hatten Park project in 1935-36.

He was the state landscape architect at the time and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cross said Aust’s body of work could be considered a criterion for Hatten Park.

“The person writing the nomination will look at which criterion is the strongest,” Cross said.

Cross and Ginger Sowle, the Parks and Rec director, met with Ian Gort, a historic preservation specialist with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Gort would administer the grant and work with the consultant on the nomination process for the National Register.

Cross said the city must develop a long-term plan for the park and a preservation plan for the stadium, as part of the process.

She said the city must also sign an owner consent form as part of the nomination process.

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