23 Aug 2014
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Preservation Students Tour Plainfield

Local historian Michael Lambert gave his School of the Art Institute students a tour of vernacular architecture in the village.

Preservation Students Tour Plainfield Preservation Students Tour Plainfield
Historic preservation students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago spent several hours in Plainfield on Sunday, getting a look at some of Plainfield's oldest residential homes as part of a lesson on vernacular architecture.

Their teacher, Plainfield architect and historian Michael Lambert, took the pupils to see more than 40 buildings in the village, despite the chilly weather.

Lambert said the tour focused on buildings dating from 1825 to 1860.

"We're talking about how these early buildings evolved over time," Lambert said. 

Student Erica Ruggiero of Chicago said it was her first visit to Plainfield. The 25-year-old joked that she was "house shopping" during her tour of the early settlement structures.

"I love it so far," she said of her trip through Plainfield history. "[Plainfield] has a great downtown but it's definitely a quieter residential area."

Jeremy Spates, a 24-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had also never been to Plainfield before.

"It's been great to see all the case studies," he said, adding that the vernacular architecture is "very particular to this region — it's not something you'd see in any other part of the country."

The students also spent about half an hour touring the historic Plainfield House (also known as the "Halfway House") on Main Street,  originally built by early Plainfield settler Levi Arnold in 1834. The small wooden structure was eventually leased to Dr. E.G. Wight, who expanded the building.

According to Lambert, the historic home has been continuously lived in for more than 175 years.

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