Plainfield Village Historic District
Photograph by CB Johnson

  Historic View of Plainfield, and individual buildings within the Historic District
Photographs courtesy of the Vermont Historical Society, Christopher Bellamy, and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

Nestled in the Winooski River Valley, Plainfield Village is located ten miles east of Montpelier, and developed throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries as a prosperous mill community and service center for the surrounding countryside. The falls of the Winooski River, which lie immediately to the south of the Main Street Bridge, provided the principal power source for Plainfield's mills. While none of the mill buildings survive, the historic village contains a cohesive collection of 19th-century buildings and is noteworthy for the concentration of brick buildings in a singular style which represents a local building tradition.

Many significant commercial, residential, and civic buildings comprise Plainfield Village. Plainfield was chartered in 1797, and the following year the first frame house was erected, still standing at the center of the village. Possibly the two oldest surviving Federal style brick commercial buildings in the State also stand in the center of the village. The district includes three of the four original churches, the original fire station from 1890, and seven of the eight original stores. Like other small Vermont villages, the connection of Plainfield to the railroad in 1871 boosted the local economy and growth of the town. In 1812, Plainfield was home to only 12 families, by 1881 that number had risen to 80. Numerous industrial enterprises were located in Plainfield at the end of the 19th century including a clothes mill, sawmill, gristmill, tannery, as well as factories producing wagons, sleighs and carriages. With the disappearance of all these industrial sites, the village presently serves as a residential community for Montpelier, and as a cultural and commercial center for Goddard College.

The Plainfield Village Historic District is roughly bounded by the town line to the north, Main and Water Sts. to the east, Great Brook to the south, and Rt. 2 to the west. The private homes within the district are not open to the public, but most of the businesses welcome visitors.

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