Timeline and Modern History of Springfield, Missouri

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Our local Springfield sexual abuse lawyer, Ryan Frazier Esq., has sponsored this article on the history of Springfield. We hope that as a resident or visitor to the city, you learn something new.

A Brief History of Springfield

Springfield is the third largest city in Missouri and it has become commonly accepted that it was named after Springfield, Massachusetts, by migrants who had moved westward.

Before the settlement of the land by Americans traveling west, the Kickapoo, Osage and Lenape tribes had settled in the area. The Osage were the dominant tribe in the area for more than 100 years. The first settler in the area was John Polk Campbell, who had moved to the area in 1829 with his brother and started developing farms. Campbell owned much of the land in the area and would end up donating an area for the Springfield public square and he planned the city site. In 1838 Springfield was officially incorporated.

Civil War Impact

The city continued to grow over the next few years, reaching approximately 2,000 residents by 1861. It was also during this time that the Civil War was going on. The city itself was divided in support as many residents came from both the north and south, including German immigrants who supported the Union.

Springfield became an important strategic city and the Union and Confederate fought for it. In August of 1861, the Confederate army had a victory in the city, but many troops withdrew afterwards. When the Union returned a few months later they took back over the city. The Confederate army would try to re-take the city a few years later but the Union army had set up a supply base and Springfield had become a central point for the army with an increased military presence.

Even though the Union had such a large presence in Springfield, after the Civil War, there were a number of lynchings in the city. While there were only three officially recorded lynchings, there was a repeated pattern of discrimination and violence against the African American community living in Springfield. This led many of the residents to leave the area in the search for a safe place to live. Today, there is a plaque on the Springfield Courthouse commemorating the three victims of the mob violence in 1906.

Demographics & Economy

In the 2010 census, there were  159,498 residents recorded living in Springfield. This would break down into:

  • 69,754 households
  • 88.7% White
  • 4.1% African American
  • 3.7% Hispanic or Latino
  • 23.4% of households had children under 18
  • Median age was 33.2 years old
  • 48.5% male
  • 51.5% female

Much of the city is based on health care, manufacturing, retail and tourism. It has been recorded that in 2016, the city had a Gross Metropolitan Product of $18.6 billion. It has also been estimated that annually 3,000,000 visitors stay over night or do a day trip to the city. Some of the largest employers in the Springfield metro area include:

  • CoxHealth
  • Mercy Health System
  • Walmart
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts

Nicknames of Springfield

The city has three nicknames thanks to its area and history. The first is 'Queen City of the Ozarks', referencing a previous nickname of the city and the Ozark mountains running through south western Missouri. It was first referred to as 'Queen City of the Ozarks' in 1878. Another nickname for Springfield is 'the 417' referencing the area code. Lastly, many refer to the city as the 'Birthplace of Route 66'.

Things To Do in Springfield

Springfield has been having a resurgence of its downtown area in recent years. Many older buildings are being renovated and local coffee shops, bars, boutiques and restaurants have been moving in. Springfield has been a prominent part of Country music since the 1950s, hosting four different nationally broadcasted TV shows featuring some of the biggest names in country music.

There are 3,200 acres and 103 sites managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Some of the sites include the Gray-Campbell Farmstead, Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, and the Dickerson Park Zoo. There is also a 35-mile gravel trail and other trails for cycling and walking managed by the Ozark Greenways Inc. Other outdoor activities can be found at the local lakes, caves and forests that surround Springfield.

Since 2001, Springfield has hosted a 'First Friday' on the first Friday of every month where local artists can showcase new work and galleries open their doors for people to stroll in and out.

There is also an annual Route 66 Festival showcasing vintage cars and artwork focused on the famous motorway. In September, a Japanese Fall Festival is hosted by the Sister Cities Association and connects visitors from the sister city of Isesaki, Japan in Springfield to showcase their culture.

Some notable points of interest for any visitor include:

  • History Museum on the Square
  • Battle of Springfield Tour
  • Dickerson Park Zoo
  • Discover Center of Springfield
  • Founders Park
  • Springfield Art Museum
  • US Route 66 Marker
  • Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquaruium

Learn more about Route 66 and the local city of Joplin.

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If you've been a victim and are looking for a sexual abuse lawyer in Springfield, do not hesitate to call our experienced office. We offer free consultations where you can privately speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights. Call today.

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