kids encyclopedia robot

Plainfield, Massachusetts facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Plainfield, Massachusetts
A typical field in Plainfield, Massachusetts
A typical field in Plainfield, Massachusetts
Official seal of Plainfield, Massachusetts
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampshire
Settled 1770
Incorporated 1807
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 21.3 sq mi (55.1 km2)
 • Land 21.1 sq mi (54.5 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
1,676 ft (511 m)
 • Total 633
 • Density 29.72/sq mi (11.488/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
01070, 01026
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-54030
GNIS feature ID 0618206

Plainfield is a town on the northwestern edge of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States, about 25 miles east of Pittsfield and 30 miles northwest of Northampton. The population was 633 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Plainfield was first settled in 1770, primarily by settlers from the town of Bridgewater, and was officially incorporated as a district within the Town of Cummington in 1785, and as a town on June 15, 1807. Plainfield is the youngest town in Hampshire County, a distinction it has held since the disincorporation of Enfield (1816) and Prescott (1822) in 1938.

In the 1800s, Plainfield was a thriving agricultural community, primarily producing sheep and leather for tanning. With the widespread adoption of the steamship, and the resultant globalization in the 1870s, the expense of importing both mutton and leather from Australia and New Zealand was greatly reduced. Consequently, the agricultural industries in Plainfield became less profitable, and the Population declined substantially over the following decades.

Sixty-one men from Plainfield joined the Union Army late in the American Civil War. Six were killed in battle, or died in consequence of their service. Of those who survived, many settled elsewhere after the war.

After almost two centuries of depopulation, modern Plainfield is experiencing increased population growth (as of 2010).


The Town of Plainfield is situated in the scenic Berkshire Highlands where Hampshire County merges into neighboring Franklin and Berkshire Counties. Plainfield is part of the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts.

Plainfield sits 1620' above sea level, and the peaks of West Mountain (at 2125') are the highest elevation in Hampshire County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.3 square miles (55 km2), of which 21.0 square miles (54 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.99%) is water.

Plainfield's waterways serve as the headwaters of the Westfield and Deerfield rivers.

Plainfield is bordered by the towns of Cummington, Ashfield, Hawley, Savoy, and Windsor.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 814 —    
1860 639 −21.5%
1870 521 −18.5%
1880 457 −12.3%
1890 435 −4.8%
1900 404 −7.1%
1910 406 +0.5%
1920 332 −18.2%
1930 300 −9.6%
1940 264 −12.0%
1950 228 −13.6%
1960 237 +3.9%
1970 287 +21.1%
1980 425 +48.1%
1990 571 +34.4%
2000 589 +3.2%
2010 648 +10.0%
2020 633 −2.3%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

As of the census of 2000, there were 589 people, 243 households, and 166 families residing in the town. The population density was 28.0 people per square mile (10.8/km2). There were 311 housing units at an average density of 14.8 per square mile (5.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.13% White, 0.34% Native American, 0.17% Asian, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.68% of the population.

There were 243 households, out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 4.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. Of all households, 25.9% were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 31.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $37,250, and the median income for a family was $46,042. Males had a median income of $31,625 versus $26,875 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,785. About 4.8% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

  • Deer Hill State Reservation
  • Dubuque Memorial State Forest
  • Shaw Hudson House; museum and historical home of note
  • Old Millers site; one of 8 mills on the Old Mill stream; Plainfield Historical Society.

Notable people

  • Erastus Newton Bates, Illinois and Minnesota legislator
  • John Brown (1800–1859), abolitionist who played a role in starting the Civil War
  • William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878), poet, philosopher
  • Ralph Ellison, novelist, essayist. African-American novelist, literary critic, scholar and writer
  • Martha J. Lamb, author, historian
  • Charles McCarry (born 1930), author of more than ten novels and numerous works of non-fiction
  • James Naismith, inventor of basketball
  • Talcott Seelye, former United States Ambassador to Tunisia and Syria, Arabist
  • Charles Dudley Warner, born in Plainfield on September 12, 1829, author, editor Hartford Courant
  • Marcus Whitman (1802–1847), missionary physician

Images for kids

kids search engine
Plainfield, Massachusetts Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.