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Local History Department - Photo of the Month


The Charles H. Detwiller, Jr.
Architectural Drawings Collection, 1887-2002.

The Plainfield Public Library announces a new exhibition in honor of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary celebration (NJ350).  The library is displaying never-before seen examples from its collection of historical blueprints that date back to 1887.  The 70-piece exhibit consists of wall exhibits and display cases on both levels of the library.  The featured blueprints represent thirty-five different sets of drawings by 24 architects.  The oldest drawing on exhibit is of the Plainfield Golf Club dating from 1896. 

The Charles H. Detwiller, Jr. Architectural Drawings Collection contains over 16,000 sets of drawings, documenting over a century of residential and commercial architecture in the greater Plainfield area. This collection of blueprints that document the growth of a suburban community is unique in the United States.

Over 500 architects are represented, including architect George Ernest Robinson, who was a nationally known architect in firehouse design.  Plainfield’s Fire Headquarters building, designed by him in 1925, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Preservation of the aging documents began by the library in 1998.  The processing of the collection is still ongoing.  The cost of microfilming, digitization, and cataloging is entirely supported through grant funding and volunteer assistance.  Major funders include The Institute for Museum and Library Services; The New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State; the Plainfield Foundation; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library.

The exhibition opens September 1, 2014 and will run through October.  It is free to the public.  The Plainfield Public Library is located at 800 Park Avenue.  For hours of operation, call 908-757-1111 or check the website at   To arrange for group visits, call 908-757-1111 ext. 132 to reserve the room..

Image: Residence for A.F. Van Horn M.D. Plainfield N.J., 1904. N.K. Aldrich, architect.


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