Location in Washington County and the state of Vermont
|• Total||21.1 sq mi (54.5 km2)|
|• Land||21.0 sq mi (54.4 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||1,096 ft (334 m)|
|• Density||59/sq mi (23/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1462175|
Plainfield is located at.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.0 square miles (54.5 km2), of which 21.0 square miles (54.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km2) (0.19%) is water.
Plainfield, the primary village, is located in the northern corner of the town along the Winooski River and U.S. Route 2. Goddard College is located just west of the village. The ground rises to the east in the town, culminating at 3,030-foot-high (920 m) Spruce Mountain within Groton State Forest.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,286 people, 487 households, and 317 families residing in the town. The population density was 61.2 people per square mile (23.6/km2). There were 520 housing units at an average density of 24.8 per square mile (9.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.42% White, 0.78% African American, 0.86% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.39% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.40% of the population.
There were 487 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were couples living together and joined in either marriage or civil union, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the town the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 12.9% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $38,750, and the median income for a family was $42,813. Males had a median income of $30,789 versus $29,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,980. About 7.6% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.
Although Plainfield is similar to many other rural New England towns by the numbers (size, population, etc.) it has a distinct flair which sets it apart from most surrounding communities. Goddard College attracts a liberal, educated population that at one time made up a significant portion of the townspeople. Goddard alumni include Mumia Abu-Jamal, members of the band Phish, David Mamet, Piers Anthony, Mary Edwards, onetime State Historian H. Allen Soule Jr., and abstract artists including Robert M. Fisher and James Gahagan. Plainfield was home to noted composer and builder of the first American village style gamelan, Dennis Murphy.
The town currently has two restaurants; one located in the village center with New York-style pizza, and the other a cafe on US Route 2. The village also has a community food co-op open to non-members and featuring local products, The Blinking Light Gallery an artists cooperative art gallery, a used bookstore, and a community maintained flower garden, all within several hundred feet of each other. The town has a unique public library, the Cutler Memorial Library, located at 151 High Street (Route 2).
Plainfield's atmosphere is distinct from popular tourist destinations in Vermont such as Stowe, and Woodstock in that its commercial activity is generated primarily by local residents. There are a number of active local groups such as the Plainfield Historical Society and the Plainfield Area Community Association, which sponsor community activities, like the annual Old Home Days.
Plainfield, like a number of Vermont towns, retains the influence of the back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s. A number of people came to stay for good and continue to run organic farms. This older generation has now joined with the newer, younger sustainable agriculture movement and the food renaissance in Vermont. While the college, Goddard, has suffered a decline in recent years, the town nevertheless retains an ethos of activism, community and solidarity (except on Town Meeting day when everyone voices their opinion loudly). Community spirit and solidarity was demonstrated in 2013, when the town raised the most money per capita for VPR - Vermont Public Radio - and thus earned an Ice Cream Social from Ben and Jerry's. The radio station housed at Goddard College - WGDR - continues to serve as a community voice and link for area residents.
- Piers Anthony, writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres
- Mary Azarian, woodcut artist and children's book illustrator
- Robert M. Fisher, artist
- James Gahagan, artist
- William H. Macy, actor, teacher, and director, in theater, film, and television
- David Mamet, playwright, screenwriter, director, poet, essayist and novelist
- Page McConnell, pianist, organist, and keyboardist for Phish
- Dennis Murphy, composer, musician, instrument maker and artist
- Archie Shepp, jazz saxophonist
- Thomas Yamamoto, artist
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Plainfield town, Washington County, Vermont". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Nadel, Ira Bruce. David Mamet: a life in the theater. Palgrave MacMillan. p. 34.
- Town of Plainfield official website
- Plainfield Area Community Association
- Plainfield Historical Society
- Cutler Memorial Library
- Goddard College
- Farms in Plainfield VT
- Plainfield Friends Meeting