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Plainfield Charter Township
6161 Belmont Ave, NE
Belmont, MI  49306-9609

Phone: 616-364-8466
Fax: 616-364-6537

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

     A Short
History of Plainfield Township

 

» Township Statistics and General Information
» Ten Largest Township Employers

Take a trip back in time and share Plainfield Charter Township history and tour the Historic Hyser Museum during our Open House Celebration on September 13th (10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and 14th (noon to 4:30 p.m.). Join us for a craft demonstrations in conjunction with the Civil War Reenactment at the Grand Rogue Campground. Come and spend some time learning about handicrafts and the history of Plainfield Township.

WE NEED YOUR HISTORICAL STUFF   The Plainfield Township Historical Preservation Committee wants your help in collecting old school photographs, articles, stories, and artifacts to increase our collected history of the township.  Click here for details, descriptions of desired items and exciting news from the Township Historical Committee.

Do you have a grade school group photo you would like to share? If so, we would like to copy it. If you have photos from any of the following old school districts (Belmont, Colton, Post, Goff, Sage, D.W. Richardson, Wilson, Peach Grove, Brownell, Atwater, Comstock Park, and Oakwood), please call the township Building & Grounds Dept. at (616) 363-9399. Please leave your name and phone number or email address so we can contact you, or bring it for scanning to the township's Building & Grounds building, 5205 Plainfield Ave, NE,  Grand Rapids, MI.  Our hours of operation are 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday thru Friday.

Former Township trustee Chuck Weldon gives a presentation and tour of the Plainfield Township Cemetery in this YouTube video.  Learn some fascinating historical facts about your township as Chuck visits the graves of many of those that helped shape Plainfield history.

HYSER HOUSE HISTORICAL MUSEUM- OPEN TOUR DATES FOR 2014

DATES

TIME

Saturday-Sunday, May 3rd-4th

11:00am-5:00 p.m. 

Sunday, June 1st

2-4:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 6th

2-4:30 p.m

Sunday, August 3rd

2-4:30 p.m

Sunday, September 7th

2-4:30 p.m

Saturday, September 13th
Sunday, September 14th

10:00am- 5:00pm     Historical Weekend
12 Noon - 4:30pm

Sunday, October 5th

2-4:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 2nd

2-4:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 7th

2-4:30 p.m.

History Buffs Welcome: The Plainfield Township Historical Preservation and Advisory Committee meets regularly to oversee the operation and maintenance of the Hyser House Historical Museum, and is tasked with protecting and preserving Township history. The Historical Preservation Committee meets every 4th Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at Plainfield Charter Township Kent County Library-Plainfield Branch, 2650 Five Mile Road, Grand Rapids, MI. All meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to share anything regarding Township history with the Committee.

DATES

TIME

January 28th

6:00 p.m.

February 25th

6:00 p.m.

March 25th

6:00 p.m.

April 22nd

6:00 p.m.

May 27th

6:00 p.m.

June 24th

6:00 p.m.

July 29th

6:00 p.m.

August 26th

6:00 p.m.

September 23rd

6:00 p.m.

October 28th

6:00 p.m.

November 26th

6:00 p.m.

 

Recorded history of the area called Plainfield Township began in 1763 when Rene' deLa Salle sailed up the Grand River attempting to find a shorter passage between the Detroit River and lower Lake Michigan.  By 1826, the United States Federal Government acquired all land north of Indiana and south of the Grand River (including Grand Rapids and Kent County) in the Treaty of Dearborn. The northern part of the Township was deeded to the US in the Treaty of Washington D.C. in 1836. The land was promptly settled and was organized as Plainfield Township in 1836. It also encompassed vast areas of Northern Kent County adjoining it, which were eventually set off and organized as separate townships.

The Hyser House Museum
One of the earliest settlements in the Township was Plainfield Village on the north side of the Grand River. It was founded in 1838 by Andrew Stout who established a ferry across the Grand River and eventually also operated a blacksmith shop and a hotel. Plainfield Village received its name from the Indian cornfields described as "plain fields". A log building became the Village's first public school during the winter of 1837-38. In April of 1838, settlers assembled and organized Plainfield Township. The area included all of what is now Cannon Township and the present area lying on the north side of the Grand River.

In 1840, the first sawmill and gristmill were erected on the Rogue River. A Post Office, called Austerlitz, was established on March 22, 1843. It was the first post office in Kent County north of Grand Rapids. Plainfield Village provided a landing place, a supply and service source to busy river traffic, as the Grand River above Grand Rapids was being readied for steamboat navigation. Steam boating on the upper Grand River continued from 1837 through 1857 and again by similar streamers in the late 1880's and early 1890's in passenger excursions and lifting logs of valuable hardwood lost in log drives passing through the Township.

By 1845, Plainfield Village had grown to around 800 inhabitants, 4 hotels, 5 stores and 6 saloons and continued to grow until the 1880's. Cannon Township organized and separated from Plainfield Township in mid-1845. The part of Plainfield Township lying south of the Grand River separated from Grand Rapids Township and became a part of the township in 1847. In 1848, the first regular steamboat service on the upper Grand was making regular stops at Plainfield Village.

1850 found Robert Konkle building a second sawmill on the Rogue River near the west end of the Village. In 1860, due to the villages lumbering industry, it was doing more business than any other town or village in the county outside of Grand Rapids. Although by 1862, the decline of Plainfield Village was predestined by contemporary events.

The Township had several other settlements at the time. Comstock Park was originally known as North's Mill, and later became known as Mill Creek and then Comstock Park. Belmont, earlier known as Whitney, was established on June 29, 1874 and was the center for the Grand Rapids and Indian Railroad, now the Penn Central. Belmont continued to grow with the increased traffic from the railroad and soon had a store, hotel and post office. In 1907, a Baptist church was constructed (now Belmont Baptist) and St. Adalberts Catholic Church (now Assumption BVM) was built in 1912.

Plainfield Township continued to grow throughout the early and mid 1900's. In 1945, Dexter Hamilton organized the Plainfield Township Volunteer Fire Department. Today, a combination full-time / part-time / paid-on-call department serves the residents of Plainfield Township, working out of two stations. In 1959, the township started its own water department and dedicated the water plant and water system in May 1964. At the time the water plant could treat 1.5 million gallons of water per day. Today that number has grown to 20 million gallons per day and serves more than 10,000 customers.

Township Statistics and General Information

  • Officer / Trustee / Manager Form of Government
  • Township of Plainfield Incorporated in 1838
  • Became A Charter Township In 1978
  • Township Encompasses 36 Square Miles
  • 10,000+ Water Customers Served
  • Township Tax Rate - 3.29 mills / $1000 Of Taxable Value (2004)
  • 59 Full-Time Township Employees
  • 9 Township Parks
  • 5 County / State Parks
  • 2 Libraries
  • Total State Equalized Value (SEV)- over $1,264,215,500.00 (2009)
  • Number of Property Parcels- 14,000+
  • 1980 Census - 20,611
  • 1990 Census - 24,946
  • 2000 Census - 30,175
  • 1981 Registered Voters - 13,087
  • 1991 Registered Voters - 17,663
  • 2005 Registered Voters - 21,853

 

Ten Largest Township Employers, (2001-2005)
Company # of
Employees
Type of Business % of Township
Employment
 
Meijer, Incorporated 1,082 Merchandise/Grocery Retailer 6.39%  
Rockford Public Schools 611 K-12 School System 3.61%  
Gill Industries 440 Manufacturing 2.60%  
Northview Public Schools 422 K-12 School System 2.49%  
Jackson Products 308 Safety Equipment Manufacturer 1.82%  
West Michigan Whitecaps 304 Sports Entertainment Complex 1.82%  
NuCraft Furniture 258 Furniture Manufacturing 1.52%  
Comstock Park Public Schools 235 K-12 School System 1.39%  
Lowes 180 Home Improvement Warehouse 1.06%  
Canteen Services 174 Vending / Food Service Distributor 1.03%  
Ten Largest Employers 4,014   23.71%  
Other Employers 13,090      
Total Employed 17,104