Plainfield, Massachusetts

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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 589 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

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.

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).

Geography

The Town of Plainfield is situated in the scenic Berkshire Highlands[1] 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 (55.1 km²), of which, 21.0 square miles (54.5 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.99%) is water.

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