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Local History Department - Photo of the Month

Plainfield City Charter 1869

The City of Plainfield Celebrates 150 Years!

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On April 20, 1869, the citizens of Plainfield township met in Laing’s Hall (right, Laing's Hotel which was connected to Laing's Hall) for the purpose of forming a city government.  The “Act to Incorporate the City of Plainfield,” approved April 6, 1869, was read and accepted. This draft of the City’s charter is 37 pages and was handwritten on the back of Office of the Security Insurance Company of New York financial statements.



The township election for the purposes of incorporation was held on April 13, 1869. The township committee at this time was Wallace Vail, T.J. Gillies, Randolph Runyon, Job Male and C.O. Meeker. Out of 683 votes, 427 were in favor of incorporation.

The first charter election was held on May 4, 1869 - 644 votes were cast. Job Male (left) was elected as the city’s first mayor and was sworn in on May 6, 1869. The first meeting of the common council was held on May 11 in the old No. 2 fire engine house (image below) on West Front Street.



Plainfield revised the charter in 1872 and that version stayed the course until 1968, when the town voted on a full revision. Revision and evaluation committees were active in the 1970s and 1980s with strong movements to revise it arising in 1983 and 1989. In November 2012, residents voted to create a new Charter Study Commission to evaluate the current charter - the 1968 revision. Their findings are due to the city in August 2013.


The Local History Department has copies of the City’s Charter and Ordinances since 1869, as well as a comprehensive collection of news clippings, regarding the revisions, from the 1960s through the 1990s.

For more information about the City's 150th Anniversary, check out the City's webpage.


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