1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Springfield (Ohio)

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SPRINGFIELD, a city and the county-seat of Clark county, Ohio, U.S.A., at the confluence of Mad river and Lagonda Creek, about 45 m. W.S.W. of Columbus. Pop. (1890), 31,895; (1900), 38,253, of whom 3311 were foreign-born (including 1337 German, 1097 Irish and 308 English) and 4253 were negroes; (1910, census), 46,921. Springfield is served by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis; the Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis; the Erie, and the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railways, and by an extensive inter-urban electric system. The older portion of the city is in the narrow valley of Lagonda Creek, but from here the city has spread over the higher and more undulating surface farther back until it occupies an area of about 8½ sq. m. Among the public buildings are the United States government building, the Clark county court house, the City building (the first floor of which is occupied by the city market), the Warder public library (established 1872), which in 1908 contained 25,000 volumes, the city hospital, and the city prison and workhouse. On hills near the city border are the Ohio state homes for the Masons, the Independent Order of Oddfellows, and the Knights of Pythias. The city park contains more than 250 acres, and in 1908 the city adopted plans for an extensive park system. Ferncliff cemetery is a picturesque burial-ground. On a hill on the north side of the city is Wittenberg College (Lutheran; 1845), which in 1909 had 35 instructors and 710 students. Springfield is in a productive farming region, and water power is provided by Lagonda Creek, so that manufactures closely related to agriculture have always been prominent. The value of the factory product in 1905 was $13,654,423, of which $4,051,167 was the value of agricultural implements, $2,914,493 of foundry and machine-shop products, and $1,025,244 of flour and grist-mill products. The municipality owns and operates the waterworks. Natural gas is piped from Fairfield county.

In 1799 Simon Kenton and a small party from Kentucky built a fort and fourteen cabins near Mad river 3 or 4 m. beyond the present western limits of the city. Later in the same year James Demint built a cabin on a hill-side overlooking Lagonda Creek. In 1801 he engaged a surveyor to plat a town here and soon after this the site of the Kenton settlement was abandoned. The new town was near the borderline that had been fixed between the Whites and the Indians, and the latter threatened trouble until 1807, when in a council held on a large hill in the vicinity, at which Tecumseh was the principal speaker for the Indians, peace was more firmly established. In 1818, when Clark county was erected, Springfield was made the county-seat. It was incorporated as a town in 1827, and in 1850 it was chartered as a city.

See E. S. Todd, A Sociological Study of Clark County, Ohio (Springfield, 1904).