The Babcock Building

T2047Before and After the Fire
Guillermo Thorn, n.d.

Built in 1894, this notable building at 240 West Front Street (corner of Madison Avenue) stood five stories high and leased space to stores, offices, apartments, and various fraternal organizations.  At various times it housed the Chamber of Commerce and the DuCret Art School. According to a 1970 Courier News article, “it was a rare Plainfielder who never set foot inside the Babcock Building in its early years, because it was used for lodge halls, music studios, stores, offices and the post office at one time or another.”  

Fire destroyed the structure on March 6, 1902; at the time it was considered to be the worst fire in Plainfield history.  It was rebuilt and enlarged after an insurance settlement was announced in the summer of 1902.  The site was damaged again during two more fires – on December 5, 1969 and August 6, 1970.  Previously scheduled demolition began the day following the second fire.  It is currently the site of a McDonald’s restaurant.

Vintage postcard, n.d.

Babcock Building, 1944.
Paul Revere Collier

Babcock Building, n.d.
Paul Revere Collier


Building before fire, n.d.
Guillermo Thorn