Like many older cities, Plainfield, N.J., went through difficult times in the second half of the 20th century, including a deadly riot in 1967, known as the Plainfield Rebellion. But the Union County city weathered those storms and is now better known for the handsome Victorian and Tudor-style homes built during its heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Wall Street bankers and other affluent New Yorkers followed the train line out to exurbia. Those vintage homes have long been more affordable than similar properties in nearby suburbs.
That’s how Krisja Lorenson and Keith Salvata were able to buy an 1890s Victorian that has been featured twice in national publications (first in Scientific American, soon after it was built, and then in the Old House Journal in 2015, after previous owners restored it). In late 2020, the couple, who had been living in New York City, paid $830,000 for the 6,400-square-foot home, which has three turrets, soaring stained-glass windows and a wraparound porch.
Plainfield Public School District serves about 9,700 students in 13 schools, including nine elementary schools, two middle schools, Plainfield High School, and Plainfield Academy for the Arts & Advanced Studies, which serves students in grades seven through 12. Three-quarters of the district’s students are economically disadvantaged, according to the New Jersey Department of Education.
The average SAT scores at Plainfield High School in 2019-20 were 451 in reading and writing and 435 in math, compared with statewide averages of 536 in each. At the arts academy, the average scores were 481 in reading and writing, and 456 in math.
Private school options in the area include the Kent Place School, in nearby Summit, for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade; the Pingry School, a coeducational school covering kindergarten through 12th grade, with campuses in Short Hills, Basking Ridge and Pottersville; and Wardlaw+Hartridge, a private school in Edison. There are also a number of Catholic schools, including Koinonia Academy, in Plainfield; Holy Savior Academy, in South Plainfield; Union Catholic High School, in Scotch Plains; Mother Seton Regional High School, in Clark; and Roselle Catholic High School, in Roselle. Al-Minhaal Academy, in Plainfield, is an Islamic school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
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