History of Downtown Plainfield

Timeline created by DPA2017
In History
  • Plainfield Settled

    Plainfield settled by John Barclay in current downtown area near the Green Brook. Settlement flourishes with mills, and eventually becomes a major textile and hat manufacturer.
  • Old York Road (AKA Front Street)

    Old York Road, part of which became Front Street became the main artery between Philadelphia and New York and was the main road for Washington's troops in 1776-78 during the Revolutionary war.
  • Plainfield Population: 75

    Plainfield population numbers 75 people.
  • Quaker Meeting House Constructed

  • Plainfield Population: 150

    Plainfield population reaches 150
  • Plainfield School Society

    Plainfield School Society is founded by John Wilson, John and Samuel Manning, Benjamin Laing, and Frederick Vermeule and offered private instruction in a building on West Front Street.
  • The Plainfield Academy Established

    The Plainfield Academy (a school) is established on East Front Street.
  • Laing's Hotel Constructed

    Laing's Hotel, a prominent public meeting space and popular hotel on Old York Road, erected. It was frequented by travelers between Philadelphia and NY.
  • Elizabethtown and Somerville RR

    Elizabethtown and Somerville railroad company formed.
  • The Plainfield Classical Institute Founded

    The Plainfield Classical Institute founded on corner of West Front Street and Central Avenue.
  • The Plainfield Academy Burns Down

  • Plainfield School Society Destroyed by Fire

  • Plainfield Population: 1030

    Plainfield population numbers 1030
  • The Plainfield Academy Re-erected

  • The Mansion House Erected

    The Mansion House, on the corner of Cherry Street and Barn Street (Park Avenue and Second Street), erected and later changes name to City Hotel in 1890s, then Iroquois Hotel, then finally the Queen City Hotel. Used to stand where current PNC Bank on Park Avenue is located and was diagonally across from from Randolph building, and across Second Street from the Plainfield Theatre. The hotel became known as a home away from home for Plainfield theatre actors.
  • The Plainfield Bank Chartered

    The Plainfield Bank gets state charter and begins Plainfield's long and storied history of being a financial center.
  • Mansion House RR Meeting

    Meetings are held at Mansion House to ensure the completion of the first rail road.
  • Railroad Reaches Plainfield

    The Elizabethtown and Somerville railroad, which later merged with the Somerville & Easton Railroad to become The Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1849, reaches Plainfield.
  • The Plainfield Academy Closes Down

  • RR reaches Somerville

    ...a total of 25 1/2 miles!
  • Plainfield Classical Institute Closed

  • The Presbyterian Church of Plainfield Founded

    The second Presbyterian Church of Plainfield, which would later become the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, is founded on East Front Street with a congregation of 86 people.
  • Plainfield Township Formed

  • $75,000 in Sales

    Estimated sales of $75,000 in Plainfield from a total of about 18 retail stores
  • Somerville & Easton RR Chartered

    Somerville & Easton RR chartered, eventually taking over the Elizabethtown & Somerville RR to form the Central Railroad of New Jersey on April 17 of this yr
  • 2 Trains per Day

    Elizabethtown and Somerville Railway runs around two trains a day.
  • Central Railroad of NJ Formed

    The Central Railroad of NJ (CNJ) is formed after the merger of Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad and Somerville and Easton Railroad.
  • Central RR of NJ extended to Phillipsburg

  • 33,271 Fares

    The train carries more than 33,271 fares between Plainfield and New York, more than any other stop on the line, including Phillipsburg, Elizabethport, and Elizabethtown.
  • Union County is formed from Essex County

  • Queen of the Valley Train Service Begins

    Reading Railroad begins operation of Queen of the Valley trains between Jersey City and Harrisburg, bypassing Philadelphia, in direct competition with Pennsylvania RR.
  • Union County Bank is formed

  • First National Bank of Plainfield is Founded

    First National Bank of Plainfield is founded and becomes Plainfield’s first bank. It was one of the first 500 banking institutions in the country.
  • City Fire Department Founded

  • City’s YMCA Founded

  • Train Service on Sundays Begin

    Central RR of NJ begins operation of Sunday trains, which was progressive for conservative and religious Plainfield.
  • Starpointe Savings Bank Founded

    Starpointe Savings Bank, previously known as Plainfield Savings Bank and the Savings Bank of Central Jersey, as the successor of Dime Savings Institution, is founded in 1868. The Dime Savings Building is on the corner of Park Avenue and East Front Street and served the bank well into the 1980s.
  • Sutphen House Purchased

    Dr. John Crater Sutphen house purchased on West Second Street (next to PSEG substation and city parking lot) for medical office and his home. The building still stands today.
  • Train Service Expands West

    The Central RR of NJ connects with the Lehigh & Susquehanna RR, giving Plainfield expanding service west from the terminus in Phillipsburg, NJ 119 miles to Scranton, PA, and giving the Central RR of NJ access to the lucrative coal market, generating substantial revenue.
  • City of Plainfield Founded

  • Thriving Plainfield

    The New York Herald Tribune declares "Plainfield is one of the most thriving towns on the road…it is rapidly filling up with wealthy families from New York. More than 200 buildings have been erected adoring the past 12 months."
  • Plainfield’s Population: 5,000

  • First Paved Street Completed

    Cherry Street (Park Avenue) is the first paved street from Front Street to Second Street.
  • Plainfield Police Department Founded

    Plainfield Police established on corner of East Fourth Street and Cleveland Avenue
  • The Park House Constructed

    The Park House, a resort, was built on the corner of Park Avenue and Seventh Street “an elegant 5 story building, an attractive and popular resort by people from New York and other cities."
  • Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church Constructed

    The second Presbyterian Church moves to current Crescent Avenue site and constructs stone church. The land was donated by Plainfield’s first Mayor, Job Male.
  • The Joys of Commuting from Plainfield

    The Central Railroad of New Jersey publishes a free guide entitled “Homes on the Central Railroad of New Jersey for New York Business Men” that describes the joys of commuting from Plainfield on the 19 trains each way from Plainfield.
  • RR Tracks Raised

    The railroad tracks are raised running from Westfield through Plainfield because of the amount of trains going through the city.
  • City National Bank incorporated

  • Goodbye Ferries

    First trip available on Central Railroad of NJ fully by train (no ferry) from Jersey City to Philadelphia
  • City Jail Established

    City jail officially established on Depot Park
  • Plainfield Population: 8,125

  • City Businesses Flourish

    By 1882, the Plainfield Business Directory lists over 109 carpenters, 13 real estate dealers, 4 architects, and 9 makers, signaling a growing, skilled, and employed city.
  • Reading Railroad leases entire CNJ Line

  • The Evening News Founded

    The “Evening News” founded, which later became the Courier-News in 1961
  • Stillman Music Hall Opens

    Stillman Music Hall, which became Proctor’s, then Oxford Theater, opens at 215 W Front St
  • All Souls Unitarian Church Built

    All Souls Unitarian Church, near Park Avenue & Seventh Street, is constructed.
  • Plainfield Amusement Academy Constructed

    Plainfield Amusement Academy built (as roller skating rink, then expanded to encompass wrestling, boxing, a dance hall, and silk factory amongst other uses)
  • Marsh Building Completed

  • Hello B&O Railroad!

    Boston and Ohio Railroad begin using CNJ tracks for service between New York City and Washington D.C., with stops in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore.
  • Telephone Fire Alarm System Installed

    City installs new telephone fire alarm system throughout the city, many of which can still be found throughout downtown (E.7th and Watchung, Roosevelt and East Fifth Street, Norwood Avenue and East Front Street, etc.)
  • Crescent Church Fire

    Fire destroys the Chapel and Sunday School of Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
  • Blizzard of 1888

    Blizzard of 1888 drops over 40 inches of snow on Plainfield.
  • Central RR of NJ Terminal Opens

    Central Railroad of New Jersey opens Jersey City Terminal in Jersey City, NJ
  • The Paramount Theater Constructed

    The Amphion Theater, later The Boxwood, Plainfield Theater, and most famously, the Paramount Theater, constructed on corner of West 2nd Street and Park Avenue. Often called the Madison Square Garden of Plainfield.
  • The Big Flood

    The Feltville dam bursts, sending water down Somerset Street and ravaging local stores in Plainfield and North Plainfield.
  • Plainfield Population: 11,267

  • Hetfield Building Completed

    Hetfield Building completed (100-106 North Avenue) corner of North Avenue and Park avenue.
  • Royal Blue Train Service Begins

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad begins operation of Royal Blue train service between New York and Washington D.C.
  • Plainfield Courier founded by Frank W. Runyon

  • Grace Church Constructed

    The Gothic Revival Grace Church, with its Tiffany glass windows and rare 47 bell carillon, is constructed by British-American Architect Robert Gibson
  • Liang's Hotel Closes

    The building was incorporated into the original Babcock building, built 2 years later.
  • First Trolley Begins Operation

    Fourth Street trolley, built by Plainfield Street Railway, First trolley begins operating in Plainfield, running from Somerset Street/Front Street to West Fourth Street and proceeding to West Seventh Street
  • Babcock Building Built

  • First YMCA Built

    The first YMCA in Plainfield is built on the corner of East Front Street and Watchung Avenue
  • Tier's Pond Opens

    Tier’s Pond opens, featuring swimming and winter ice skating, and eventually a circular train track for rides off of East Front Street near the Green Brook.
  • Trolley Expanded

    Arlington Avenue leg of the trolley system constructed.
  • Plainfield Population: 15,369

  • Booming Economy

    192 stores in Plainfield and annual sales estimated at $2,880,000.
  • The Stillman Music Hall becomes Proctor’s

    The Stillman Music Hall closes, becomes Proctor’s.
  • 88 trains stop in Plainfield Daily

  • The Reading RR Gains Control of CNJ

    The Reading Railroad gains control of the Central RR of NJ, which lasts until the creation of Conrail in 1976.
  • Babcock Building Fire, Rebuilt in 1903.

  • Train Station Constructed

  • The Plainfield Trust Company Founded

    The Plainfield Trust Company is formed and located at 139 East Front street.
  • First Brick Pavement Installed

    First brick pavement was installed between East Second Street and North Avenue on Watchung Avenue.
  • First Auto Parade Held

    First auto parade was held, featuring 54 cars with a turnout of 2,000.
  • Plainfield National Bank (202 Park Ave) Constructed

  • The Oldest Building in Plainfield Razed

    Randolph building, the oldest building in Plainfield, is purchased and razed by the Plainfield Trust Company for its new headquarters in the landmark columned bank at 202 Park Avenue.
  • Elkwood Hall Opens

    Elkwood Hall opens, later becoming Plainfield Theater, then Paramount Theater
  • The First Church of Christ Founded

    The First Church of Christ, Scientist formally organizes in the Babcock Building
  • Rosenbaum's Store Opens

    Henry and Samuel Rosembaum, brothers, open a small dry goods store with $700 worth of merchandise and a $7 weekly payroll. The store would eventually become the four-story Rosenbaum’s department store.
  • The Orpheum Theater Opens

    The Orpheum Theater opens in the former "Reform Club Hall"
  • Plainfield Police Headquarters Moved

    Plainfield Police Department Headquarters moved to corner of Cleveland Avenue and East Fourth Street from Depot Park
  • Courier News Building Constructed

    Frost Building/Courier News Building Built at 226-232 Park Avenue
  • Bus Service Begins

    Plainfield’s first out-of-city bus line, the Auto Bus Company, began operation in 1909, with weekend buses to Boynton Beach
  • State Trust Company Begins Operation

  • Woodrow Wilson Visits Plainfield

    Plainfield hosts gubernational candidate Woodrow Wilson at the Orpheum Theater.
  • Plainfield Population: 20,550

  • Sutphen House Taken Over

    Boice-Runyon Coal Company occupies Sutphen House property at 209 West Second Street (on site of current City Parking Lot) until 1949.
  • Successful Trolley System Expands

    Trolley System spreads to 4 lines, making over 300 trips daily.
  • 120 Trains & 3500 Commuters Per Day

    120 Trains a day traveled between Plainfield to New York, carrying over 3500 commuters.
  • First Comic Strip in a Local Paper Published

    The Courier-News publishes the first comic strip to appear in a local newspaper entitled “Excuse me”.
  • Downtown Plainfield Hosts Grand Automobile Parade

    Progressive and modern for it’s times, Downtown Plainfield and neighboring North Plainfield host the Grand Automobile Parade.
  • First Female Banking Officer in NJ Elected

    Miss Adele H. Kirby was elected an assistant treasurer of the Plainfield Trust Company becoming the first female banking officer in New Jersey.
  • Street Lighting Installed in Downtown Plainfield

  • Astor Theater Opens as Casino Theater

  • Temple Sholom Founded

    Temple Sholom founded and opens at 20 Grove Street. Stays at location until 1923 when it moves to new building on West Seventh Street.
  • Communipaw Terminal Constructed

    Communipaw Terminal is built as the eastern terminus for trains from Plainfield. It served between 50-60,000 people and 1200-1300 trains per day.
  • CNJ Stock Sells at $325/share

    Central RR of NJ stock prices sell at all time high of $325 per share with a 4% dividend yield.
  • Louis Chevrolet Spends Time in Plainfield

    Louis Chevrolet, whose name is seen on millions of vehicles today, spent considerable time in Plainfield and was one of the judges of the Elks annual auto parade.
  • The Courier-News Founded

    Courier merged with The Daily Press in 1916, consolidating Plainfield’s three original daily papers under one name and management, The Courier-News
  • State Trust Bank new Hdqrs Constructed

    State Trust Bank builds new headquarters at 101-105 North Avenue demolishing the Vanderbeek Building.
  • Cornerstone Box Sealed

    The City Council and Mayor seal the cornerstone box. The box is located on the northwest corner of Watchung Avenue and East Second Street. The box is not scheduled to be opened until 2017.
  • B&O Trains Ordered to Use Hudson River Tunnels

    US Railroad Administration orders Pennsylvania Railroad to permit Baltimore and Ohio Railroad trains to use Hudson River tunnels and Penn Station because of railroad congestion and the U.S.’s entry into WWI.
  • City Hall Constructed

  • Plainfield Symphony Orchestra Founded

  • City Hall Annex Constructed

    Constructed as the Seventh Day Adventist Church Rectory Building.
  • Flagship Tepper's Department Store Opens

    Flagship Tepper’s Department Store opens on West Front Street.
  • Plainfield Population: 27,700

  • The Strand Theater Opens

  • Proctor’s Closes and Becomes Oxford Theater

  • Women Sat on Jury for First Time

  • Economy Expands

    By 1922, Plainfield boasts four department stores, 26 dry goods establishments, 17 pharmacies, 8 grocers, 45 meat markets, 15 hardware stores, 15 office buildings, 19 auto dealers, 41 physicians, 46 lawyers, 51 clergymen, 26 dentists, 10osteopaths, 4 civil engineers, and 13 hotels.
  • Park Hotel Constructed

    Park Hotel built on West Seventh Street and Arlington Avenue at a cost of $250,000.
  • Sears Department Store Opens

    Sears Roebuck & Co. opens one of its first retail stores in Plainfield. The store, still standing on the corner of West Front Street and Grove Street still stands today and is currently being rehabbed into a mixed use development.
  • Grace Church 47-bell Carillon Dedicated

  • First Central Jersey 4th of July Parade Held

  • Streetcars Stop Running in Favor of Busses.

  • YWCA Constructed at 232 East Front Street

  • National Limited Train Service Begins

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad begins National Limited service between New York and St. Louis via Philadelphia, Wilmington, Washington D.C. and Cincinnati.
  • Liberty Theater Opens

    Liberty Theater Opens at 434 West Front Street (first in union county to be cooled by refrigeration)
  • City National Bank Merger

    City National Bank merges with The Plainfield Trust Company
  • Plainfield National Bank Remodeled

    Plainfield National Bank/United National Bank (202 Park Avenue)- remodeled in 1926. Features Red Marble Columns.
  • Astor Theater Closes

  • Plainfield Fire Dept Hdqtrs Constructed on Central Avenue

  • B&O RR Stops using NY Penn Station

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad stops using Penn Station and Hudson River tunnels, reverting back to CNJ’s Jersey City Terminal then bussing people to NY in various locations.
  • Rosembaum's Department Store Opens

    Rosenbaum’s Department Store opens at 171 East Front Street
  • New Management at The Courier-News

    Business Managers Chauncey Stout, William Morrison, and Frank E. Gannett purchase The Courier-News.
  • WWI Monument Completed

  • First National Bank Moves

    The First National Bank, located at 119 East Front Street moves to 111 East Front Street and builds Classical Revival pillared bank.
  • Queen City Savings Bank Opens

    Queen City Savings and Loan Association bank opens at 107 Park Avenue, grows and changes name to First Atlantic Savings and Loan Association.
  • Masonic Lodge Founded

  • New YMCA Opens on Watchung Avenue

  • "The Bullet" Train Service Begins

    CNJ service begins service on the Deluxe passenger train "The Bullet" between Wilkes-Barre, PA and JC, but could not service the onset of the Great Depression and ended service on July 12, 1931.
  • Plainfield Population: 34,422

  • Williamsporter Train Service Begins

    CNJ and Reading RR begins Williamsporter train service from JC to Williamsport, PA
  • Crescent Church Fire

    A new church house and stone chapel is constructed. In November of that year, a fire destroys the church, but pairs the church house.
  • The Great Depression's Grip

    The Great Depression negatively affected the city's banking sector. Plainfield National Bank merged with Guaranty Trust Company and subsequently falls on hard times and moves into the building at 119 East Front Street building that First National Bank vacated in 1928.
  • "The Bullet" Train Service Ends

    The Bullet CNJ deluxe passenger train service is discontinued from Wilkes-Barre, PA to JC because of the Great Depression.
  • First National Bank Merger

    First National Bank absorbs Fourth National Bank.
  • Crescent Church Reopens

    Crescent Church Reopens to service after being reconstructed.
  • Trolleys Cease to Run

  • Du Cret School of Art Moves into Babcock Building

  • Tier’s Pond Demolished in favor of City Parking Lot

  • "Crusader" Train Service Begins

    Reading Railroad begins operation of Crusader express service from Jersey City to Philadelphia. The name was given by a Plainfield man who won a contest to name it after over 6,000 suggestions.
  • Plainfield National Bank and First National Bank Merge

  • Central RR of NJ Files for Bankruptcy

  • Gannett Begins Control of The Courier-News.

    Gannett takes full control over The Courier-News.
  • Plainfield Population: 37,422

  • Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church Grows

    Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church has membership of over 1500.
  • Plainfield Population Over 44,000

  • Williamsporter Train Service Ends

    Williamsporter train route that operated from Jersey City to Williamsport, PA ends run because of WWII-imposed conservation measures.
  • Plainfield Trust Company Acquires Sutphen House

    The Plainfield Trust Company acquired the Sutphen house and runs various banking departments out of it, demolishing the coal yard that stood around it. Their intentions? To use the land for its current purpose: Parking.
  • CNJ Files for Second Bankruptcy

  • First Bank Drive-Thru in Plainfield Opens

    The Plainfield Trust Company opens the first drive-thru banking window in the city at their headquarters on the corner of Park Avenue and Second Street.
  • Bamberger's Department Store Begins Construction

    Bamberger's begins construction on new department store on corner of East Front Street & Roosevelt Avenue
  • Plainfield Population: 42,366

  • South Branch to Flemington Terminated

    Service on CNJ’s South Branch between Jersey City and Flemington terminates at April 25, 1953.
  • CNJ Parade Float Judged Most Beautiful

    CNJ’s parade float in the Plainfield 4th of July Parade was judged most beautiful.
  • The Salvation Army Building Constructed

    The Salvation Army erects building on corner of Watchung Avenue and East Seventh Street that is still the headquarters for this region.
  • Sears Department Store Closes

    Sears closes West Front Street Store and moves to Rt. 22 in Watchung.
  • Urban Renewal Enters Downtown

    Oxford Theater and The Orpheum theater (later Calvary Baptist Church) is demolished along with the entire block bound by Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, West Front Street and West Second Street as Urban Renewal enters Plainfield.
  • "Marylander" Train Service Discontinued

    Marylander service is discontinued between New York and Washington DC by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
  • Paramount Theater Closes

    Paramount Theater closes its doors as Urban Renewal claims the entire block bounded by Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, West Second Street and West Front Street.
  • United National Bank Formed

    The Plainfield Trust Company, Plainfield National Bank, and the State Trust Company merge to form United National Bank.
  • Train Service to St. Louis Terminated

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad operates last Diplomat train between New York and St. Louis, instead opting for the eastern terminal to be Washington D.C.
  • "Royal Blue" Train Service Terminates

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad operates last Royal Blue train between New York and Washington D.C.
  • City Council Declares Park-Madison Block Blighted

    Plainfield City Council declares entire Park-Madison block “blighted”and authorized Plainfield's Housing Authority to seek federal funding for an urban renewal project on it
  • Plainfield Population: 45,330

  • Nixon Campaigns for President in Plainfield

    Vice President Nixon makes a campaign stop in Downtown Plainfield to greet supporters and to give a speech.
  • Courier-News Moves to Church Street

    Courier News moves to 201 Church Street (current Union County College Building)
  • Park-Madison Project Plan Adopted

    Park-Madison Project plan was adopted featuring all commercial uses.
  • New Police Hdqrs Planned

    Plainfield Amusement Academy closed and demolished in favor of new police headquarters.
  • New Police Hdqrs and Municipal Court Opens

    New Plainfield Police and Municipal Court opens at 400 East Fourth Street
  • The Beatles Play at The Strand Theatre

  • Park-Madison Urban Renewal Demolition Begins

    Paramount Theater and entire surrounding block demolished as part of Park-Madison Urban Renewal Project
  • Service to PA Terminated

    Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are last serviced by commuter service.
  • Plainfield has 2.8% Unemployment Rate

    Plainfield Chamber of Commerce reports that the city only has 598 cases of unemployment in the city, which amount to a 2.8% unemployment rate.
  • CNJ files 3rd Bankruptcy

    Central RR of NJ files for 3rd and final bankruptcy citing failure of NJ Legislature to pass necessary rail subsidies worth $7m and only passes $5.1m. They cited losses of up to $600,000 per month and a budget deficit of $1.9m.
  • Aldene Plan Implemented

    Aldene Plan began which diverted trains to Newark Penn Station and effectively closes Communipaw Terminal. This increased trip times to NYC, but reduced expenses by eliminating ferry service.
  • Babcock Building Fire; Demolished

    Babcock Building catches fire and is demolished 1970
  • Steinbach's Department Store Enters Plainfield

    George’s purchased by Steinbach’s, store rebranded.
  • Union County College Campus Opens

    Union County College opens campus in Plainfield
  • Plainfield Population: 46,862

  • Comprehensive Development Plan Released

    City releases Comprehensive Development Plan, which was the first comprehensive Master Plan for Plainfield.
  • Upper Floors of Train station Demo'd

    The upper floors of the historic Westbound Train Station demolished. The 2nd floor housed the station-master’s residence. The westbound station continued as a single story structure until demolition in 1999.
  • "National Limited" Train Service Terminated

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad stops National Limited service between St. Louis and New York as Amtrak is formed in 1971.
  • Reading Railroad Files Bankruptcy

  • The Courier-News Moves to Bridgewater

    Courier News closes its plant on Church Street and moves to Bridgewater, NJ
  • CNJ Terminates PA Service

    CNJ terminates all service in PA as a part of ongoing bankruptcy.
  • Survey: 906 Average Day Train Trips

    Plainfield conducts train station user survey indicating 906 average daily trips from Plainfield Station.
  • Plainfield Transit Center Proposed

    Plainfield Planning Division releases engineering feasibility study for a new Plainfield Transit Center on the site of the current Downtown Plainfield station to replace Central RR of NJ service with PATH service from Plainfield to NYC, and clearing buildings in what is now the North Avenue Historic District.
  • The PATH Train Coming to Plainfield?

    Port Authority of NY & NJ applies for federal funding to build a Plainfield Transit Center on the site of the current Downtown Plainfield Station and to eliminate the Netherwood Train Station on Plainfield’s East End over cited high costs and low ridership.
  • PATH vs CNJ

    The Plainfield Planning Division releases report summarizing possible PATH extension and CNJ locomotive improvement costs and pros and cons.
  • Plainfield wins "All-America City” Designation

  • Plainfield Celebrates Bicentennial

  • Park-Madison Marketing Plan Drafted

    A marketing package for Park-Madison was drafted, and featured two office buildings, a retail mall, a 650 car parking garage and a mid-rise motor hotel. This plan also failed.
  • Tepper’s Department Store Closes

  • Conrail Formed

    CNJ and Reading Railroad ceased operations and the following day all their assets were absorbed into Conrail.
  • Steinbach’s Department Store Closes

  • First Independent Christian Science Church

    The First Church of Christ, Scientist, who began in the Babcock building, became the first independent Christian Science Church in the world.
  • Du Cret School of Art Leaves Downtown

    Du Cret School of Art moves from Downtown to current building at 1030 Central Avenue
  • Control over Park-Madison Block Shifts

    Plainfield City Council takes back control of Park-Madison block from the Plainfield Housing Authority.
  • CNJ Service Ends

    After 114 years, CNJ service ends.
  • NJ Transit Formed

  • Plainfield Population: 45,555

  • Woolworth's Catches Fire

    Woolworth’s burns down, never rebuilt.
  • North Avenue Declared Historic

    North Avenue Historic District placed on National Register
  • SEPTA Assumes Service to Philadelphia

    Service between Newark and Philadelphia on the Reading RR’s Crusader line ends, with SEPTA operating trains from West Trenton to Philadelphia from 1976-1981.
  • West Trenton Line Terminated

    NJ Transit eliminates West Trenton Line, leaving only one train line going through Plainfield: The Raritan Valley, because of poor service and government cutbacks.
  • Plainfield Joins NJ UEZ Program

    Plainfield is the 5th city after Newark, Camden, Bridgeton and Trenton to become a UEZ city.
  • Commuter Train Service shifts from Conrail to NJ Transit

    NJ Transit assumes all commuter train service from Conrail
  • Park-Madison Parking Lot Plan

    Plainfield estimates it will cost $335,000 to properly fill, grade, and pave Park Madison and fence it off on Front, Second, and Madison Avenue and turn it into a parking lot and install an attendant. The plan never survived the 1983-1988 Capital Improvement Plan.
  • Liberty Theater Closes

  • Union County Urban Design Award

    Plainfield wins a Union County Urban Design Award for the realigning of Park Avenue and Somerset Street, which previously was a dog-legged intersection.
  • New Economic Development Initiatives

    Office of Economic Development formed and strategizes to form a banking consortium, lease space for state offices, and implementation of minority business and job development programs, and plans for a Main Street program and visual upgrade of Front Street.
  • Plainfield Symphony Orchestra: 65th Season

    The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 65th season.
  • Plainfield Train Station Deemed Historic

    Plainfield Train Station added to National Register
  • New Plans For Downtown

    The Plainfield Economic Development Corporation and Plainfield Redevelopment agency have plans to develop The Steinbach building into a retail/office use and the Strand Theater for entertainment/retail use, the vacant Park-Madison tract for retail/office/housing and the North Avenue Train Station for use as a restaurant.
  • A New Plan for North Avenue

    The city begins improvements to North Avenue Historic District and has plans to develop an area adjacent to the train station as a plaza called Station Square.
  • Train Station Rehabbed

    NJ Transit completes a $1.5 million rehab project for the inbound and outbound train stations.
  • Plainfield a UEZ City

    Plainfield Designated an Urban Enterprise Zone, allowing for sales tax to be 3.5%, half of the state average, and various ED incentives.
  • Plainfield Economic Development Corporation Embarks on “Enterprise Park”

    In partnership with the Harsen & Johns Development Company & C.H. Saunders Construction of Newark, a plan to turn the 80 year old Tepper’s Building into a mixed-use 30,000 SF retail, 75,000 SF Office & 15,000 SF Restaurant mini-mall. And also Park-Madison into a 6-story office building, parking deck, & retail. And the NYC development company Sadkin, Hewes & Stern qualified for $350,000 in low-interest state loans to renovate the Strand Theater & reopen it as a six-theater complex.
  • Plainfield Planning Division releases Parking Study as a result of the "UEZ designation, revelation of potential development plans for the downtown area and the results of a survey of downtown merchants." The downtown merchants expressed in the study that

    much of the on-street parking was being used by people employed downtown and not available for shoppers. 64% of the merchants surveyed mentioned parking as a serious problem facing the downtown & 66% mentioned crime as a serious problem. The study went on to say the problems were interrelated because some of the municipal parking lots in the downtown area are underutilized as a result of the fear of crime & perception.Parking revenue decline below $100,000 for the first time between 1980 & 1985.
  • Macy's buys Bamberger's

    Macy’s buys Bamberger’s and changes name. Continues store on corner of Roosevelt and East Front Street as Macy’s.
  • Park-Madison RFP Released

    An RFP was released under Plainfield’s Redevelopment Agency for the "redevelopment and construction” of Park Madison. Two developers responded to the RFP, however the site still sat undeveloped for years.
  • Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Sites Adopted

    Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission and Division of Planning and Community Development adopts Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Sites
  • United National Bank Moves Hdqtrs

    United National Bank moved headquarters from 202 Park Avenue building to Blairstown, then Bridgewater, NJ.
  • Dime Savings Bank buys Starpointe Savings Bank

    Starpointe Savings Bank, headquartered in Plainfield, is purchased by Dime Savings Bank of New York for $21 per share or $63 million, to expand business in the Central NJ market. At time of purchase, Starpointe, had $420 million in assets, and operated eight retail banking offices in central New Jersey.
  • City Council Re-Declares Park-Madison Blighted

    City Council affirms Park Madison’s 1962 blight declaration.
  • New Park-Madison Redevelopment Plan Adopted

    Planning Board adopts new redevelopment plan for Park-Madison
  • Plainfield Population: 46,567

  • First Atlantic Bank Collapses

    First Atlantic Savings & Loan Association collapses and is taken over by Federal regulators.
  • Park Avenue Streetscape Installed

    Plainfield installs new streetscape on Park Avenue between Fifth street and seventh street.
  • UCC moves into former Courier-News Building

    Union County College moves into former Courier-News Church Street Location
  • Macy's Department Store Closes

    Macy's, Plainfield's last department store, closes on the corner of East Front Street & Roosevelt Avenue along with other East Coast locations.
  • Civic Historic District placed on National Register of Historic Places

    Plainfield Civic Historic District placed on National Register of Historic Places
  • Plainfield FD Hdqrs Added to National Register of Historic Places

    Plainfield Fire Department Headquarters added to National Register
  • Railroad Museum (Almost) Comes to Plainfield

    Plainfield becomes a leading city in the selection of a location for the New Jersey Railroad & Transportation Museum Commission. The museum ultimately was built in Phillipsburg.
  • Congressman supports Plainfield Transit Projects

    Congressman Bob Franks writes letter of support of 2 Plainfield transit projects: restoration of West Trenton Line service and NERLE (Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link Extension), a cross county rail link to bring trolley service to Plainfield from Newark International Airport.
  • One-Way Changes?

    Plainfield conducts study of turning East Fifth Street between Park Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue into a two-way street.
  • Plainfield Downtown Upscale Program Takes Off

    Plainfield announces its Plainfield Downtown Upscale Program which offered loans to property owners special rehab loans for storefronts and certain mixed use developments.
  • Rehab of Parking Lots 6 & 8

    Rehabilitation of Parking Lots #6 & #8 during summer, including rehabbing of sidewalks, signs, driveways, and pavement.
  • East Fifth Street One-Way Elimination Proposed

    East Fifth Street proposed circulation study is released to turn sections of East Fifth Street from Roosevelt Avenue to Park Avenue into a two-way roadway.
  • Study Released to Rehab Parking Lot #1

    City releases study to rehab City Parking Lot #1, recommending paving, sidewalk repair, restriping and guide rail, have not been implemented.
  • Union County Issues RFP for Cross-County Rail Link

    Union County issues an RFP for a cross county rail link to develop a way to implement an east-west mass transit rail service between Plainfield and Elizabethport.
  • Plainfield Issues RFP for Redevelopment of Park-Madison

    Plainfield issues another RFP for redevelopment on Park-Madison. One developer responds, but a contract is never awarded.
  • Report Issued to Advocate for Investment in Raritan Valley Line

    The Westfield Raritan Valley Line Commuter Commission in cooperation with the Plainfield Raritan Valley Line Commission release a report titled “Improving the NJ Transit Train Commute for Westfield and the Raritan Valley Line” to advocate for investment and improvements along the train line.
  • Plainfield Doubles Planning Division Staff

  • Plainfield Adopts New Master Plan

  • Westbound Station Demolished

    NJ Transit demolishes westbound train station building in favor of plans to overhaul and modernize station to current set-up.
  • Plainfield Population: 47,829

  • Park-Madison Declared In Need of Redevelopment a 3rd Time

    Plainfield Planning Board again declares Park-Madison in need of redevelopment
  • UEZ Design Guidelines Adopted

    Plainfield adopts the Urban Enterprise Zone Design Guidelines.
  • Park-Madison Site Comes into Shape

    Plainfield enters into an agreement with Union County Improvement Authority and AST Urban Renewal Co. to redevelop Park Madison site into two retail buildings, a 100,000 office building and 316 car parking garage.
  • Train Station Rehabbed

  • Pres. Bush Visits Plainfield

    President Bush visits Grace Church to speak about his support for church sponsored programs and meet a local youth group
  • Park-Madison Complex Completed 30 Years Later

    Park-Madison Complex Completed (316 car parking garage, 100,000 office building and retail stores) after 30 years of stagnation.
  • SID Created

    Special Improvement District created by City Council
  • Sutphen House Abandoned

    PNC bank, the successor to The Plainfield Trust Company (later called United National Bank) stops using the Sutphen House for their Community Education Center, leaving the building abandoned.
  • New Senior Center & The Monarch Opens

    New Senior Center and condo developed called The Monarch open at 400 East Front Street
  • Strand Theater is Closed by 2007

  • West Trenton Line Restoration: $219 Million

    NJ Transit estimates costs to be $219 million to restore service on West Trenton Line.
  • Plainfield Adopts New Master Plan

  • First Held Queen City 5k

  • City Receives NJDOT Bicycle Grant

    City receives NJDOT Bicycle Grant for Green Brook Trail development, particularly for a feasibility study for a seating and park near the Green Brook in the rear of Supremo parking lot area.
  • Plainfield Population: 49,808

  • 181 North Avenue Demolished

    City demolishes 181-191 North Avenue, a hallmark structure of the North Avenue Historic District over years of neglect by the property owner and unsafe conditions of the structure, including bricks falling from the facade.
  • 897 Weekday Boardings

    An estimated 897 weekday boardings at Plainfield Station each day
  • Red Cross Leaves Plainfield

    Tri-County Red Cross merges headquarters with Westfield-Mountainside Chapter, moves to Westfield.
  • Downtown Rezoned for Transit Village

    Plainfield rezones Downtown in an effort to make it development friendly, and support the Transit Village Urban Planning approach.
  • 90th Central Jersey 4th of July Parade

    City Hosts 90th Central Jersey 4th of July Parade
  • Plainfield Granted TOD Status

    Plainfield granted Transit Oriented Development status by NJ DOT opening the downtown up to state assistance and grant opportunities.
  • One Seat Ride comes to Raritan Valley Line

    RVL receives “one seat ride” with the addition of dual Diesel and Electric locomotives allowing RVL trains to access NY Penn Station, increasing property values along the train line and decreasing commute times by as much as 15 minutes.
  • Plainfield Named Most Caring City

  • Plainfield Joins Main Street NJ

    Plainfield joins Main Street New Jersey for technical assistance on development a successful downtown.
  • Netherwood Transit Village Wins Smart Growth Award

    Plainfield’s other Transit Village, Netherwood, wins prestigious NJ Future Smart Growth Awards.
  • City Demolishes 117 North Avenue

    City determines 117-125 North Avenue building is unstable after a fire and years of neglect. City demolishes building. The building was in the North Avenue Historic District (NAHD) and served many uses over the years including the former home of Plainfield Music Shop (moved across the street) and Leahy’s Flower shop. The demolition causes damage to neighboring properties outside of the NAHD, including the partial destruction of an adjacent building and businesses.
  • Plainfield Awarded DOT Grant for Streetscape

    Plainfield awarded DOT grant of more than $600,000 for new streetscape and ROW improvements on North Avenue.
  • PSEG Upgrades Infrastructure

    PSEG completes upgrades to electrical infrastructure downtown.
  • City Proposes to Outsource Planning Division

    City proposes to outsource the Planning Division and Zoning Officer, potentially devastating the city’s institutional knowledge and daily functions. This plan ultimately did not move forward because of inability to show cost benefits and strong public opposition.
  • NJ Transit Reconstructs Park Avenue & Watchung Avenue Bridges

    NJ Transit completes the reconstruction of 100-year old rail bridges at Park and Watchung Avenue
  • Downtown Plainfield Alliance Founded

    Downtown Plainfield Alliance grassroots volunteer organization founded by caring neighbors and business owners.