The Plainville Historical Society, Inc. was established in 1969 following the centennial celebration of the Town of Plainville. The first meeting was held at The Plainville Public Library with one card table for displaying our historical past.
The building was originally three floors and was the Plainville Town Hall, which was built in 1890. It housed the Fire Department on the first floor, the Plainville Library, the Police Department, the jail and the municipal offices of Plainville's Town Government. A tower on the back of the building was used by the fire department to dry the fire hoses. A large hall was on the third floor where numerous community events were held including vaudeville shows, dancing and the High School graduations.
On a crisp day, December 4, 1917, the fire alarm in the tower of the "Stockingette" factory on West Main Street signaled a "number seven", a general alarm fire. Word spread from mouth to mouth "The Town Hall's burning!" Down Pierce Street, the firemen were dragging the fire equipment out of the burning building. Help was summoned from Bristol and New Britain fire departments. The library was saved by coal chutes brought over from the Plainville Lumber and Coal Company across the street. One end was placed in the town hall window, one end into the window of the Grange Hall next door, and the books were all scooted to safety.
After the fire, the first thought was to raze the building, since the tower and third floor were a total loss, and with them, the big stage and dance hall meeting room. Other sites were evaluated, but due to a shortage of building material during WW I, a plan to use one floor and the basement was voted on at a special meeting held on December 17th. Later, the layout was changed again to that which we know today. The total cost of the rebuilding and furnishing was $9,300.
On Sunday, December 16, 1973, the new Municipal Center was dedicated on Central Square, and because of the interest and foresight of the Town Government to preserve our past, the old Town Hall passed into the hands of The Plainville Historical Society, Inc.
Much work and sweat by many volunteers would be necessary to make the old Town Hall a museum that would reflect the true proud history of Plainville. Many small offices that were partitioned throughout the many years were removed and the building was restored to its original floor plan.
On May 30, 1976, we dedicated the Plainville Historic Center as we know it today.