At 38 Main Street in the Plainfield village of Central Village is a house built around 1850. Known as the Sally Ann Benedict House, it may have once had additional ornamentation in the Gothic Revival style.
The Frank H. Tillinghast House, at 30 Main Street in Plainfield’s Central Village, was built around 1870. Frank Howard Tillinghast was a leading merchant in Plainfield. According to the 1889 History of Windham County, Connecticut, by Richard M. Bayles,
Frank H. Tillinghast, son of [Judge] Waldo Tillinghast, was born in 1860 in Plainfield. Mr. Tillinghast was educated at the Plainfield Academy and at Schofield’s Business College of Providence. He had charge of a store for his father at Packerville about two years prior to 1883. In October of that year he, in company with Mr. Palmer, purchased the goods in the Company store at Central Village, and it was run as Tillinghast & Palmer until July, 1886. At that time Palmer retired. and Mr. Tillinghast has since been alone. He was married in 1882 to Annie M., daughter of Olney Dodge. He is a republican and a member of Moosup Lodge, No. 113, F. & A. M.
On Jan. 5, 1887, he was joined in a partnership with his brother, Fred W., the firm now being F.H. & F.W. Tillinghast. The business is assuming mammoth proportions, and the energetic partners are constantly expanding and covering new lines. In addition to a most complete and well arranged general stock, the firm now carry a well selected stock of furniture and carpets, curtains, and furnishings. In 1896 Mr. Tillinghast bought out the undertaking business of E.M. Anthony, at Jewett City, and since then he not only keeps a representative at that place but controls the business in Central Village. […] Mr. Tillinghast is prominent in both business and social circles in Central Village and locality, and is looked upon as one of the leading factors in the progress and development of his section. Energetic, progressive and public-spirited, his influence for the public good is felt in many directions; while his personal qualifications make him one of the most esteemed citizens of his town.
Jeremiah Shepard was a manager at the Central Manufacturing Company in Plainfield, which was acquired by partners Richard and Arnold Fenner and Holden Borden in 1827. Shepard’s house, built c. 1830 at 32-36 Main Street in Plainfield’s Central Village, has later additions, including a side bay window and long front porch.
The Methodist Episcopal Church in Plainfield began its history in 1825, when it was included in the Norwich circuit, though, before 1800, preachers were sent here and occasional services were held. At first, the church met in the old Separate meeting-house on the corner near Evergreen cemetery for occasional services […] [A revival occurred in 1843 and] That same year they purchased of the Separatists, or their successors, the old meeting-house which had been removed to Union Village. A new church was built in 1871, a little further up the river and was dedicated, February 1, 1872.
As related in Vol II of the Souvenir history of the New England Southern Conference (1897):
The church in which the people now worship is in the very centre of the village, and pleasantly situated. It was built in 1870 by the arduous labors of Rev. Lewis E. Dunham, and marked a new era in the prosperity of the society. In 1882, during the pastorate of E. J. Ayres, the building was raised, and a vestry provided in the basement. The interior of the church has recently (1896) been thoroughly repaired, a steel ceiling and chancel introduced, making it a most attractive and inviting place of worship. The parsonage, one of the most convenient and commodious, stands on the lot adjoining the church. It was built during the pastorate of the Rev. W. W. Ellis of sainted memory.
The church was completely remodeled and rededicated in 1908.
The Fenner-Matthewson Mansion, in Plainfield‘s Central Village (pdf), has been described as one of the most outstanding Italian Villa-style houses in Connecticut. It was built around 1855 by Arnold Fenner at 40 Main Street, on what became known as Central Village’s “Manufacturers’ Row.” Born in Rhode Island, Fenner settled in Central Village about 1825 and in 1827 he purchased a major interest in the Central Manufacturing Company‘s cotton-spinning mill. Fenner and Allen Harris, a pioneering manufacturer in Central Village, constructed a second brick upper mill in 1828. Harris sold his interest in the company to Fenner in 1840. Fenner later replaced the company’s original lower mill with a brick one in 1845. After his death in 1871, Fenner’s daughter, Helen Walcott Fenner, lived in the house with her husband, Philip Matthewson, who was proprietor of a general store, which he sold in 1872 to live in retirement.
The First Church of Christ of Plainfield was established in 1705. The Town of Quinebaug, now Plainfield, had already been incorporated in 1699, although it did not yet have an established church or meeting house. The first meeting house was begun in 1702 on Black Hill and took seven years to be finished. In 1720, the church was moved to a more central position on the turnpike and that structure lasted sixty years. In 1784, a new church, half a mile to the south, was completed, but was blown down in the September gale of 1815. A new and sturdier church, constructed of stone, was completed on the same spot in 1819 and continues today as the First Congregational Church of Plainfield.