The origin of the city's name is unclear, but the most common view is that it was named for Springfield, Massachusetts. One account holds that James Wilson, who lived in the then unnamed city, offered free whiskey to anyone who would vote for the name Springfield, after his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.
But in 1883, historian R. I. Holcombe wrote:
"The town took its name from the circumstance of there being a spring under the hill, on the creek, while on top of the hill, where the principal portion of the town lay, there was a field."
The editor of the Springfield Express, Mr. J. G. Newbill, disagreed in the November 11, 1881 issue:
"It has been stated that this city got its name from the fact of a spring and field being near by just west of town. But such is not a correct version. When the authorized persons met and adopted the title of the "Future Great" of the Southwest, several of the earliest settlers had handed in their favorite names, among whom was Kindred Rose, who presented the winning name, "Springfield," in honor of his former home town, Springfield, Tennessee."
The presence of the Native Americans in the area slowed the settlement of the land. Prior to 1830s, the native Kickapoo, Delaware, and the Osage tribes had settled in the general area. On the southeastern side of the city in 1812, about 500 Kickapoo Native Americans built a small village of about 100 wigwams and then abandoned the site in 1828.
The first settler to the area was John Polk Cambell and his brother who moved to the area in 1829 from Tennessee. He chose the area because of the presence of a natural well that flowed into a small stream. He staked his claim by carving his initials in a tree. Cambell was joined by settlers Thomas Finney, Samuel Weaver, and Joseph Miller. They proceeded to clear the land of trees for the creation of farms. A small general store was soon opened.
In 1833, the southern part of the state was named Greene County after General Nathanael Greene. The legislature deeded 50 acres of land to John Campbell for the creation of a county seat in 1835. Campbell then laid out city streets and lots. The town was officially laid out in 1835 and incorporated in 1838. In 1878, the town got is nickname the "Queen City of the Ozarks."
The Trail of Tears passed though Springfield during the 1838 relocation of the Cherokee natives to Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears passed along the area known as the Old Wire Road.
On April 14, 1906, a mob broke into the town jail, then lynched two black men, Horace Duncan and Fred Coker, for allegedly sexually assaulting Mina Edwards, a white woman. Later they returned to the jail and lynched another black man, Will Allen, accused of murder. The victims were hanged and burned by a mob more than 2,000 in the town square. The men were hanged from the Gottfried Tower, which held a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Judge Azariah W. Lincoln called for a grand jury. The proceedings were covered in both the New York and Los Angeles Times. In the immediate aftermath, two commemorative coins were reportedly issued. Evidence, including testimony from Duncan's and Coker's employer, suggested that all three men were innocent. The lynching sparked a mass exodus of African-Americans, who remain a small minority in Springfield. A plaque on the southeast corner of the square serves as reminder.
Springfield is at 37°11′42″N 93°17′10″W (37.195098, −93.286213), on the Springfield Plateau of the Ozarks. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 82.31 square miles (213.2 square kilometres), of which 81.72 square miles (211.7 square kilometres) is land and 0.59 square miles (1.5 square kilometres) (0.7%) is water.
The city of Springfield is mainly flat with rolling hills and cliffs surrounding its south, east, and north sections. Springfield is on the Springfield Plateau, which reaches from Northwest Arkansas to Central Missouri. Most of the plateau is characterized by forest, pastures and shrub-scrub habitats. Many streams and tributaries such as the James River, Galloway Creek and Jordan Creek flow within or near the city. Nearby lakes include Table Rock Lake, Stockton Lake, McDaniel Lake, Fellows Lake, Lake Springfield, and Pomme de Terre Lake. Springfield is near the population center of the United States, about 80 miles (130 km) to the east.
Springfield has four distinct seasons. It experiences an average surface wind velocity comparable to Chicago's, according to information compiled at the National Climatic Data Center at NOAA. It is placed within "Power Class 3" in the Wind Energy Resource Atlas published by a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy; having an average wind speed range of 6.4 to 7.0 miles per hour.
Springfield lies in the northern limits of a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), as defined by the Köppen climate classification system. As such, it experiences times of exceptional humidity; especially in late summer. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 32.6 °F (0.3 °C) in January to 78.2 °F (25.7 °C) in July. On average, there are 39 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, 2.0 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, 16 days where the high fails to rise above freezing, and 2.5 nights of lows at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) per year. It has an average annual precipitation of 45.6 inches (1,160 mm), including an average 17.0 inches (43 cm) of snow. Extremes in temperature range from −29 °F (−34 °C) on February 12, 1899 up to 113 °F (45 °C) on July 14, 1954.
According to a 2007 story in Forbes magazine's list of "America's Wildest Weather Cities" and the Weather Variety Index, Springfield is the city with the most varied weather in the United States. One day in May 2013, Springfield started out humid with a high temperature in the 70s and by 3pm saw a thin layer of snow covering the ground.
As of the 2010 census, there were 159,498 people, 69,754 households, and 35,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,951.8 inhabitants per square mile (753.6/km2). There were 77,620 housing units at an average density of 949.8 per square mile (366.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.7% White, 4.1% African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.7% of the population.
There were 69,754 households of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.2% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.81.
The median age in the city was 33.2 years. 18.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 18.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 22.7% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.
According to the 2000 United States Census, 151,580 people, 64,691 households, and 35,709 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,072.0 people per square mile (800.0/km2). There were 69,650 housing units at an average density of 952.1/mi2 (367.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.69% White, 3.27% African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.36% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.31% of the population.
There were 64,691 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.82. In the city 19.9% were under the age of 18, 17.4% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,563, and the median income for a family was $38,114. Males had a median income of $27,778 versus $20,980 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,711. About 9.9% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Registered neighborhoods include: Bissett, Bradford Park, Doling, Grant Beach, Heart of the Westside, Midtown, Oak Grove, Parkcrest, Phelps Grove, Robberson, Rountree, Tom Watkins, Weller, West Central, Westside Community Betterment, and Woodland Heights
Affiliated neighborhood groups unregistered with the city include:Cinnamon On The Hill
Sherman Ave Project Area
Springfield's economy is based on health care, manufacturing, retail, education, and tourism. With a Gross Metropolitan Product of $13.66 billion in 2004, Springfield's economy makes up 6.7% of the Gross State Product of Missouri.
Total retail sales exceed $4.1 billion annually in Springfield and $5.8 billion in the Springfield MSA. Its largest shopping mall is Battlefield Mall. According to the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, an estimated 3,000,000 overnight visitors and day-trippers annually visit the city. The city has more than 60 lodging facilities and 6,000 hotel rooms. The Convention & Visitors Bureau spends more than $1,000,000 annually marketing the city as a travel destination.
Positronic, Bass Pro Shops, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, BKD, Noble & Associates, Prime, Inc., Springfield ReManufacturing, and O'Reilly Auto Parts have their national headquarters in Springfield. In addition, two major American Christian denominations—General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America (one of the largest of the Pentecostal denominations) and Baptist Bible Fellowship International (a fundamentalist Baptist denomination founded by J. Frank Norris)—are headquartered in the city as well.
According to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the top 2014 employers in the metro area are:
Springfield city government is based on the council-manager system. By charter, the city has eight council members, each elected for a four-year term on a nonpartisan basis, and a mayor elected for a two-year term. The mayor is Ken McClure. Council members include Phyllis Ferguson (Zone 1), Dr. Thomas Prater (Zone 2), Mike Schilling (Zone 3), Craig Fishel (Zone 4), Jan Fisk (General A), Craig Hosmer (General B), Kristi Fulnecky (General C) and Richard Ollis (General D). Greg Burris, the city manager, appointed by the council to be the city's chief executive and administrative officer, enforces the laws as required by the city charter. The presiding officer at council meetings is the mayor. Council meetings are held every other Monday night in City Council Chambers. City council elections are held the first Tuesday in April.
City Utilities of Springfield (CU) is a city-owned utility serving the Springfield area with electricity, natural gas, water, telecommunications and transit services. CU provides service to over 106,000 customers.
The Springfield Public School District is the largest district in the state of Missouri with an official fall 2011 enrollment of 24,366 students attending 50 schools. Public high schools include Central High School, Kickapoo High School, Hillcrest High School, Parkview High School, and Glendale High School. Private high schools include Springfield Sudbury School, Summit Preparatory School, Greenwood Laboratory School, New Covenant Academy, Springfield Lutheran School, Springfield Catholic High School, Christian Schools of Springfield, and Grace Classical Academy.
Springfield has several colleges and universities. Founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School, Missouri State University (MSU) is the state's second largest university by enrollment, with just over 20,000 students. For the seventh consecutive year, MSU was selected for The Princeton Review's 2010 list of "Best Colleges: Region by Region." Drury University is a private university with nearly 5,000 students and consistently ranks in U.S. News & World Report's Top 10 Universities in the Midwest. Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) is the second largest college in the city of Springfield, having more than 15,000 students in attendance. MSU, Drury, and OTC are all located in and around downtown Springfield.
Other colleges in Springfield include Baptist Bible College, Evangel University and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Cox College (Nursing and Allied Health). Branch campuses in Springfield include Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Southwest Baptist University, Everest College, Columbia College, Webster University, and University of Phoenix. In 2013, a consolidation of Central Bible College, the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Evangel University occurred and is now known as Evangel University.
There are 92 parks in Springfield, including the Botanical Center at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 3 golf courses, a zoo, and other facilities owned or managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Its programs, such as Hearts 'n Parks, encourage people to enjoy a more active lifestyle. The department incorporates a network of parks and trails that run near and around geologically unique areas of the Ozarks, such as creek beds and springs. A 35-mile crushed gravel trail, the Frisco Highline Trail, connects Springfield to the town of Bolivar and is particularly popular with mountain bikers. Local recreational facilities have been host to state, local and national tournaments in softball, soccer, hockey, and tennis. The Mediacom Ice Center also has figure skating and hockey programs. On the outskirts of town, the Missouri Department of Conservation's Springfield Nature Center as well as Wilson's Creek National Battlefield are good places to take a short hike and enjoy nature. Six recreational lakes are within 100 miles (160 km) of Springfield. The nearby James and Finley rivers provide opportunity for fishing and canoeing, and for those who enjoy hiking, horseback riding, or wilderness camping, the 2,500-acre Busiek State Forest lies just 20 miles to the south. Lake Springfield, located on the south side of the city, is a large cooling lake that permits fishing and kayaking. Table Rock Lake and the Branson entertainment area are within 45 miles (72 km). Many residents travel to the Buffalo National River, 110 miles to the south, and to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, 125 miles to the east, to canoe on clear streams and to hike. Many other area streams offer canoeing and fishing opportunities. The area affords hunting for whitetail deer and turkey as well.
Springfield plays host to college teams from Missouri State University (NCAA Division I-Football Championship Series), Drury University (NCAA Division II), Evangel University (NAIA) and few minor professional teams (see below). Springfield is also home to a number of amateur sporting events. The PGA sponsored Price Cutter Charity Championship is played at Highland Springs Country Club on the southeast side of Springfield. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is located near the city as well. JQH Arena, which opened in 2009, is home to the Missouri State University Bears and Lady Bears basketball teams, and O'Reilly Family Events Center, which opened fall 2010, is now the new home to the Drury University Panthers men's and women's basketball teams. Springfield Rugby Football Club (SRFC) was established in 1983 and is a well-known rugby club in the Midwestern United States. SRFC plays in Division III of the Frontier Region of the Western Conference and runs teams for men, women and youth of the area.
Like many cities across the nation, Springfield has seen a resurgence in its downtown area. Many of the older buildings have been, and are continuing to be, renovated into mixed-use buildings such as lofts, office space, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, boutiques, and music venues. The Downtown Springfield CID (Community Improvement District) has historic theaters that have been restored to their original state, including the Gillioz Theatre and the Landers Theatre.
In 2001, Phase I of Jordan Valley Park opened along with the Mediacom Ice Park. Phase II of Jordan Valley Park was completed in 2012. 2001 also saw the opening of The Creamery Arts Center, a city-owned building inside Jordan Valley Park. It is home to the Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield Regional Opera, Springfield Ballet, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and provides office and meeting space for other arts organizations which serve the community. The center has been renovated to include two art galleries with monthly exhibitions, an Arts Library, rehearsal studios, and classrooms offering art workshops and hands-on activities. The facilities also include an outdoor classroom.
A March 2009 New York Times article described the history and ascendancy of cashew chicken in Springfield, where local variations of the popular Chinese dish are ubiquitous. There are several arts events that occur annually including the Walnut Street Arts Fest and the Missouri Literary Festival. The First Friday Art Walk occurs the first Friday of every month.
Springfield formerly hosted a fan convention known as Visioncon around February every year. Since 2013, the convention has been held in Branson.
Springfield has also seen increased interest in the local and organic food movement and is home to five farmer's markets, a community garden, several natural food stores, a fair trade chocolate factory, a winery, and three craft breweries.
During the 1950s, Springfield ranked third in the U.S. for originating network television programs, behind New York and Hollywood. Four nationally broadcast television series originated from the city between 1955 and 1961: Ozark Jubilee and its spin-off, Five Star Jubilee; Talent Varieties; and The Eddy Arnold Show. All were carried live by ABC except for Five Star Jubilee on NBC and were produced by Springfield's Crossroads TV Productions, owned by Ralph D. Foster. Many of the biggest names in country music frequently visited or lived in Springfield at the time. City officials estimated the programs meant about 2,000 weekly visitors and "over $1,000,000 in fresh income."
Staged at the Jewell Theatre (demolished in 1961), Ozark Jubilee was the first national country music TV show to feature top stars and attract a significant viewership. Five Star Jubilee, produced from the Landers Theatre, was the first network color television series to originate outside of New York City or Hollywood. Ironically, Springfield's NBC affiliate, KYTV-TV (which helped produce the program), was not equipped to broadcast in color and aired the show in black-and-white.
The ABC, NBC and Mutual radio networks also all carried country music shows nationally from Springfield during the decade, including KWTO'S Korn's-A-Krackin' (Mutual).
Country music legend Conway Twitty died suddenly in Springfield after a show in Branson.
The Springfield Chamber of Commerce once presented visiting dignitaries with an "Ozark Hillbilly Medallion" and a certificate proclaiming the honoree a "hillbilly of the Ozarks." On June 7, 1953, U.S. President Harry Truman received the medallion after a breakfast speech at the Shrine Mosque for a reunion of the 35th Division. Other recipients included US Army generals Omar Bradley and Matthew Ridgway, US Representative Dewey Short, J. C. Penney, Johnny Olson, Ralph Story and disc jockey Nelson King.
Springfield is served by Interstate 44, which connects the city with St. Louis and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Route 13 (Kansas Expressway) carries traffic north towards Kansas City. U.S. Route 60, U.S. Route 65, and U.S. Route 160 pass through the city.
Major streets include Glenstone Avenue, Sunshine Street (Missouri Route 413), National Avenue, Division Street, Campbell Avenue, Kansas Expressway, Battlefield Road, Republic Road, West Bypass, Chestnut Expressway and Kearney Street.
Springfield is also the site of the first diverging diamond interchange within the United States, at the intersection of I-44 and MO-13 (Kansas Expressway) (at 37.2503°N 93.3107°W / 37.2503; -93.3107 (Springfield, Missouri diverging diamond interchange)).
U.S. Route 66 and U.S. Route 166 formerly passed through Springfield, and sections of historic US 66 can still be seen in the city. US 166's eastern terminus was once in the northeast section of the city, and US 60 (westbound) originally ended in downtown Springfield. US 60 now goes through town on James River Freeway. In mid-November 2013, the city began discussing plans to upgrade sections of Schoolcraft Freeway (Highway 65) and James River Freeway (Highway 60) through the city to Interstate 44. The main reason is to minimize confusion should there be an incident on I-44 as a detour route.
Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) serves the city with direct flights to 10 cities. It is the principal air gateway to the Springfield region. The Downtown Airport is also a public-use airport located near downtown. In May 2009, the Springfield-Branson airport opened a new passenger terminal. Financing included $97 million in revenue bonds issued by the airport and $20 million of discretionary federal aviation funds, with no city taxes used. The building includes 275,000 square feet (25,500 m2), 10 gates (expandable to 60) and 1,826 parking spaces. Direct connections from Springfield are available to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Ft. Myers, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix and Tampa. No international flights have regular service into Springfield-Branson, but it does serve international charters.
Passenger trains have not served Springfield since 1967, but more than 65 freight trains travel to, from, and through the city each day. Springfield was once home to the headquarters and main shops of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad (Frisco). The Frisco was absorbed by the Burlington Northern (BN) in 1980, and in 1994 the BN merged with the Santa Fe, creating the current Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway. BNSF has three switch yards (two small) in Springfield. Mainlines to and from Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis and Tulsa converge at the railroad's yard facility in the northern part of the city. In October 2006, BNSF announced plans to upgrade its Tulsa and Memphis mainlines into Springfield to handle an additional four to six daily intermodal freight trains between the West Coast and the Southeast. The Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad also operates several miles of (former Missouri Pacific) industrial track within the city.
Springfield is a regional medical center with six hospitals and more than 2,200 beds. The city's health care system offers every specialty listed by the American Medical Association. Two of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. (CoxHealth and Mercy Health System) are in Springfield, and both are in the midst of expansion projects. The industry employs 30,000 people in the Springfield metro area. The United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, one of six federal institutions designed to handle federal inmates' medical concerns, is at the corner of W. Sunshine Street and Kansas Expressway.
The city's major daily newspaper is the Springfield News-Leader. Other newspapers for Springfield include Daily Events (daily), Community Free Press (bi-weekly), Springfield Business Journal (weekly), The Standard (weekly), and TAG Magazine (monthly).
Television stations broadcast in Springfield include KYTV (NBC/Weather), KGHZ (ABC), KCZ-TV (CW), KOLR (CBS), KOZK (PBS/Create/OPT), KRBK (FOX/MeTV), KOZL (independent, MyNetworkTV), KWBM (Daystar), KRFT (Mundo/TNN/RETRO TV). The Springfield Designated Market Area (SPR-DMA) is the 75th largest in the United States. The area is composed of 31 counties in southwest Missouri and Arkansas. There are 423,010 television-owning households.
The radio stations received in Springfield are: Isesaki, Japan
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