1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Springfield (Massachusetts)

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SPRINGFIELD, a city and the county-seat of Hampden county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., about 99 m. W. by S. of Boston and 26 m. N. of Hartford, Connecticut, on the east bank of the Connecticut river. Pop. (1800), 2312; (1850), 11,766; (1890), 44,179; (1900), 62,059, of whom 14,381 were foreign-born (5462 Irish, 2474 French Canadians, 1144 English-Canadians, 1321 English), 33,710 were of foreign parentage (either parent foreign-born), and 1021 were negroes; (1910, census), 88,926. Springfield is served by the Springfield division of the New York & New England, the Hartford division of the New York, New Haven & Hartford, the Connecticut River division of the Boston & Maine, and the Athol division and the main line of the Boston & Albany railways, and by inter-urban electric railway lines. The river is crossed here by four large bridges. The area of the city, which until 1852 was a township, is 38.53 sq. m. In its extreme eastern part is the small village of Sixteen Acres; north-west of the main part of the city on the Connecticut river is another village, Brightwood (on the Boston & Maine railway) and on the Chicopee river, north-east of the business part of the city, is the village of Indian Orchard, served by the Athol division of the Boston & Albany railway.

The city contains many public and private buildings of architectural importance. Among these are some of the earlier works of H. H. Richardson, such as the Court House, the Union railway station (1889), the Church of the Unity on State Street, and the North Congregational Church. Among other buildings are: Christ Church (Protestant Episcopal) St Michael's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), the South Congregational Church, the Memorial Church, and the Church of the Sacred Heart; the Art Museum (1894-1896), which contains the George Walter Vincent Smith art collection and an art library; the Horace Smith Hall of Sculpture; the Museum of Natural History (1898), organized in 1859; a group of municipal buildings, with a tower 270 ft. high and a large auditorium; a government building (1891) containing the post office and custom house, the Hampden County Hall of Records, the City Library with 175,000 volumes, and two branch libraries given by Andrew Carnegie; a state armoury, and the business buildings of the Springfield Fire & Marine Insurance Company, the Union Trust Company, and the Institution for Savings. The Public Library, the Art Museum, and the Museum of Natural History are controlled by the City Library Association, organized in 1857. In the city are a government arsenal and armoury. The arsenal was established by the Continental Congress during the War of Independence and began to be used as a repository for arms and ammunition about 1777. The armoury, in the midst of a park on Armory Hill immediately east of the railway station, was established in 1794. Here the famous Springfield muskets used by the Federal forces during the Civil War were manufactured (800,000 having been made during that struggle) and it is still the principal manufactory of small arms for the United States army. Springfield has a good system of parks (under a board of park commissioners) with a total acreage of 550 acres. Forest Park (464 acres), in the southern part of the city, is the largest and most attractive; it contains a good zoological collection, and in its ponds is one of the finest collections in America of lotus plants and Oriental aquatic flora; at its southern entrance is a monument to President McKinley by Philip Martiny. In Merrick Park, adjoining the City Library, there is St Gaudens's famous statue of “The Puritan,” commemorative of Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of the early settlers of the city. In Court Square are a statue of Miles Morgan (1616-1699), an early settler, by J. S. Hartley, and a monument in memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. In Carew Triangle in the northern part of the city is a monument in honour of soldiers of the Spanish-American War. In the suburbs of the city is Hampden Park, once a famous race track. There are two large cemeteries, in one of which are buried many of Springfield's famous men, including Samuel Bowles and J. G. Holland, whose grave is marked by a medallion by St Gaudens. Among the hospitals are the Mercy Hospital (1896, under the Sisters of Divine Providence), the Wesson Memorial (formerly Hampden Homeopathic) Hospital (1900), the Wesson Maternity Hospital (1906), and the Springfield Hospital (1883). The Springfield public school system is excellent, and in addition to the regular high school there are a technical high school, a vocational school, and a kindergarten training school. Other schools in Springfield are: the training school of the International Young Men's Christian Association (1885); the American International College, established in Lowell (1885) as the French-American College for the education of French-Canadians, and now working among various immigrant races; and the MacDuffie school (1890) and the Elms (1866), both schools for girls.

Springfield is noted for the diversity of its industries. In 1905 the capital invested in manufacturing establishments was $24,081,099, and in the value of its factory products ($25,860,250, not including those of the U.S. Arsenal; 42.4% more than in 1900) Springfield ranked ninth among the cities of Massachusetts. The largest single item in point of value was the product ($3,053,008) of the slaughtering and meat-packing establishments. Other important products were foundry and machine-shop products ($1,749,054); paper goods ($1,481,427, not including envelopes, which had an additional value of almost $700,000); cars, automobiles, firearms (besides the Federal arsenal there is the Smith & Wesson revolver factory); and printing and publishing ($1,165,544).

The principal newspapers are the Springfield Republican (Independent; weekly, 1824; morning, 1844), one of the most able and influential journals in New England, which since its establishment by Samuel Bowles (q.v.) has been the property of the Bowles family; the Union (Republican; morning, evening, and weekly; 1864); the Daily News (Democratic; 1880); and the Springfield Homestead (tri-weekly; 1878). The New England Homestead (weekly; published by the Orange Judd Company), Farm and Home, a semi-monthly, and Good Housekeeping, a monthly (published by the Phelps Publishing Company), and the Kindergarten Review (monthly, published by the Milton-Bradley Company, who publish other educational matter) are important periodicals.

The city is governed by a mayor, a board of aldermen (one from each of eight wards) and a common council of eighteen members (two or three from each ward, according to population), elected in December every other year. The city owns and operates the waterworks.

Springfield was founded in 1636 by a company of settlers from Roxbury led by William Pynchon (1590-1662). Pynchon, who had been one of the original patentees of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was dissatisfied with the government of Roxbury, of which he had been a founder. On a trip to the Connecticut Valley he selected a spot for a new colony which should have a limited membership and in which his ideas as to government might be put into execution. Accompanied by a dozen families he removed thither early in 1636. The settlers found there a settlement of Agawam Indians (probably allied with the Pacomtuc), and the settlement was at first known as Agawam. For some time the political affiliation was with the Connecticut river towns in Connecticut, but later the authority of the Massachusetts General Court was recognized. In 1640 the name was changed to Springfield, after the native place of William Pynchon in Essex, England. For several years Pynchon was the dominating influence in the colony, ruling it with the power of an autocrat. In 1650 he published a tract (The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption) in which he attacked the Calvinistic doctrine of the atonement, and which was burned on Boston Common by order of the General Court. He was removed from the magistracy and returned to England in 1652. In King Philip's War Springfield was a centre of hostilities. In October 1675 a force of hostile Indians, joined by the hitherto friendly Agawams, surprised the settlers, killed some of them, drove the others into the three fortified houses, and burned the remaining buildings. They were preparing to storm the fortified houses when they were in turn attacked and driven off by a force of militia. Springfield was somewhat out of the track of operations of the warfare between the French and English in America, as it was later in the War of Independence; but men from Springfield served in all these conflicts. In 1777 the armoury was established and the place became an important military supply depot for the Continental forces. In July of that year representatives of the New England States and New York met here in convention to consider plans of co-operation for meeting Burgoyne's invasion. During Shays's rebellion there was a riot here in September 1786, and on the 25th of January 1787 the insurgent forces under Daniel Shays attacked the arsenal, but were dispersed by the militia under Brigadier-General William Shepard (1737-1817). Springfield remained little more than a large country market town until the completion of the Boston & Albany railway in 1839. From that time its growth as a railway and manufacturing centre was marked. Springfield was a strong abolition centre before the Civil War, and from here active plans were put in operation for sending material aid in the form of men and arms to the “free state” party in Kansas. The city was chartered in 1852.

See H. M. Burt, First Century of the History of Springfield (2 vols., Springfield, 1898-1899); J. E. Tower (ed.), Springfield, Present and Prospective (ibid., 1905); M. A. Green, Springfield, 1636-1886 (ibid., 1888); Moses King, Handbook of Springfield (ibid., 1884).