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Plainfield, Massachusetts

From Academic Kids

Plainfield is a small hilltown, situated on the northwestern border of Hampshire County, about 25 miles east of Pittsfield and 30 miles northwest of Northampton. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 589.
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A typical field in Plainfield, Massachusetts - October 2004
Contents

History

Plainfield was first settled in 1770, primarily by settlers from the town of Bridgewater, and was officially incorporated as a district in 1785, and as a town on June 15, 1807.

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 rapid population growth (70% per year as of 2004).

Politics

Plainfield is governed by a Town Meeting open to all registered voters in the town. Ongoing town matters are managed by an elected Board of Selectmen and other Boards and Commissions.

Geography

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 2165') are the highest elevation in Hampshire county.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.1 km² (21.3 mi²). 54.5 km² (21.0 mi²) of it is land and 0.5 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.99% 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.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 589 people, 243 households, and 166 families residing in the town. The population density is 10.8/km² (28.0/mi²). There are 311 housing units at an average density of 5.7/km² (14.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 98.13% White, 0.00% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.00% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. 0.68% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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

In the town the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 42 years. For every 100 females there are 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 99.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $37,250, and the median income for a family is $46,042. Males have a median income of $31,625 versus $26,875 for females. The per capita income for the town is $20,785. 8.0% of the population and 4.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.9% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Famous Residents

Attractions

  • Deer Hill State Reservation
  • Dubuque Memorial State Forest

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