Originally a part of South Brunswick Township in the late 1700’s, the land that is now Plainsboro Township was given to the newly formed Cranbury Township in 1872. Maps and records detail the original residents whose names resonate still today and who are honored through memorials and the names of our local streets - Van Dyke, Grover, Davison, Perrine, Wicoff, Dey, and Britton. Plainsboro was established as a farming community with abundant land and water supplies to grow a number of in-demand crops and produce. Many believe the name of the town itself came from the description of the area which historians say was Cranbury Plains, while others like to reference the one local tavern, The Ordinary, that's real name was the Plane Tavern, as the origin of the Township name.
Our independence as a Township and a village came in 1918 when the superintendent of public education for Middlesex County reviewed the schools in the village in Plainsboro. He was quite concerned that the Grange Hall which was used as a school to educate our local residents had insufficient egress should a fire consume the building. He proclaimed that a new school should be built!
The local citizens appealed to Cranbury Township for the funds to do this but, sadly, they declined. As a result, the local citizens petitioned the New Jersey legislature to form a new town. The petition was granted and on May 6th 1919 Plainsboro Township was founded.
Want to find out more? Visit our *timeline section where you can learn about Plainsboro from 1919-2019!
*It is with no amount of uncertainty that we say this timeline would not be possible without the guidance and careful research of author, Bill Hart. For those interested in Plainsboro, Middlesex County, or New Jersey, we invite you to delve deeper into the town’s rich and growing history by reading his book - Images of America : Plainsboro
Thank you, Bill, for making this experience as rewarding as it was enlightening.