The Borough of South Plainfield was incorporated in 1926, but the area was actually settled some 260 years earlier and thrived as a part of the Township of Piscataway.
Piscataway was founded in 1666 in an agreement between settlers from New England and Phillip Carteret, the Governor of the territory. After a dispute with local Indians, the Unami Tribe, a sub tribe of the Lenni-Lenapi tribe, over land rights in 1667, the settlers repurchased the land in the agreement with three chiefs. The Dismal Swamp, located in South Plainfield was mentioned in the agreement.
The earliest name of South Plainfield was Tow Town, then Brooklyn, then New Brooklyn and Sampton. Original roads still in use today are Oak Tree, Sampton, Rahway, and New Market Avenues. The first, settlers naturally built their homes along these roads.
By 1834 New Brooklyn and Sampton had a schoolhouse, a post office, a store, and about 25 dwellings. In the 1870's Lehigh Valley Railroad made South Plainfield its yard and is still in use today.
Until this time the sole industry in town was an icehouse, a sawmill, a gristmill, and a flax factory all situated around Spring Lake. In 1912, Spicer Manufacturing Co. came to town followed by Rock Wool Corp. and Harris Steel. The Volunteer Fire Co. was organized in 1907 with a two-wheel cart, 6 pails and a couple of axes.
In 1923 New Brooklyn broke away following a legislative act and upon favorable vote of the residents, became incorporated in 1926.
Hadley Airport was constructed in 1924 and became part of South Plainfield in 1926 with the incorporation. It was Hadley Field that the first transatlantic mail flight took off.
The present PAL building was once the site of an amusement park and a lake for swimming called Holly Park. The VFW Post Hall and the professional building on Park Avenue were once the sites of two hotels- The Thornton Hotel and the Campbell Hotel. From those 25 dwellings in 1834 and a handful of industries, South Plainfield has grown considerably with a current population of over 22,000 and hundreds of commercial and industrial interests. Many of the original homes are still standing and have been officially recognized with historical plaques displayed on the homes. After 71 years, Harris Steel is still in full operation in New Market Avenue.
The town has charged a great deal physically but the same pride and community spirit exists today as it did back 1926 when South Plainfield incorporated. South Plainfield is a community where residential, commercial and industrial sectors live and work harmoniously and contribute to the future of the town.
- The Fire Company was organized May 17, 1907. The name was then the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Company
- The first fire house built cost a total of $2,000
- The first equipment purchased was six pails and a couple of axes
- The first apparatus purchased was a two wheel cart
- The present firehouse is owned by the South Plainfield Exempt Association and is rented to the Borough of South Plainfield to house all fire department apparatus.
- 1936 - Junior Fire Department was started.
- 1938 – Combination Ladder / Hose Truck equipped with flood lights, booster tank – 200 gallon capacity, portable generator and 225 feet of ladder at a cost of $11,000
- 1958 – Council approves the hiring of two part time fire inspectors as a yearly salary of $640. They were Peter Ackerman and David Darge.
- 1959 – South Side Firehouse is dedicated
- 1963 – Phone alert system was installed
- 1963 – The Joseph E. Delaney Scholarship Fund was stated in remembrance of our past chief
- 1967 – New Fire House to be located at the corner of Maple and Hamilton, known as Firemen’s Park at a cost of $125,000
- The first 51 years of service, only 5 people died due to fire related causes
South Plainfield Facts
- The population of South Plainfield is approximately 20489.
- The approximate number of families is 6823.
- The amount of land area in South Plainfield is 21.65 sq. kilometers.
- The amount of surface water is 0.096 sq kilometers :
The distance from South Plainfield to Washington DC is 183 statute miles. The distance to the New Jersey state capital is 30 statute miles. (Statute miles are "as the crow flies")
- South Plainfield is positioned 40.57 degrees north of the equator and 74.41 degrees west of the prime meridian.