The Quaker Meeting itself dates back to 1686 at Perth Amboy, with four meetinghouses built before it as Europeans moved inland from the coast. This is the New Plainfield Meetinghouse, built in 1788.
The forty years preceding this meetinghouse’s construction had been difficult for local Friends (Quakers). The Meeting had addressed the issue of slavery, requiring members to either free their slaves with the promise of continued support, or to leave the fellowship — which some did.
Originally, the meetinghouse was set on three acres. The street in front was called “Peace Street.” It was “The New Plainfield Meetinghouse,” and the town that grew up around it took the name.
This venerable building, with the exception of a portion of one end damaged by fire and repaired in 1873, and the substitution of slate in place of the shingle roof in 1922, looks much the same as when it was built. Inside, the massive timbers are richly browned by the mellowing hand of time, yet still clearly show the marks of implements used by the original woodworkers. The benches, built by individual families from a common template, are still in use, though with the addition of cushions, which were not a part of the original plans. Electric lights have replaced the old oil lamps that swung from the beams, and the long-used wood-burning stoves are now gone.
For Hours: fgcquaker.org/cloud/rahway-and-plainfield-friendsmeeting or call (908) 757-5736