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In 1916, William Howard Hart, a New York stage designer and artist who summered in Plainfield for many years during the Cornish Art Colony era, offered to build a stage for the town hall, if the town would pay for the foundation. Residents approved this offer at the March Town Meeting. Hart asked American artist Maxfield Parrish to design the stage set. In August of 1916, the first performance on the new stage occurred. The play was “The Woodland Princess” written by author Louise Saunders.
Richard Stoddard, an authority on American theater scenery, states: “The Parrish set has considerable historical importance. Very little actual scenery…has survived from the American theater before 1920, and most of what survives is journeyman work from studios specializing in supplying stock scenery…None of them have the distinction of being designed by a famous American artist…In this respect the Parrish set appears to be unique. The set is also notable because it is not a stock scene, but rather a view of a well-known Plainfield landmark.