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Get to Know

City of Firsts

Mayor Dominic Sarno
Mayor Dominic Sarno

As the 54th Mayor of the City of Springfield, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to our fine city. While known around the world as the birthplace of basketball and Dr. Seuss, Springfield is also renowned for being the “City of Homes” for its great neighborhoods and impressive architecture. This Old House magazine, USA Today, and Forbes magazine have all highlighted Springfield’s neighborhoods and housing stock as being both impressive and affordable. The city was also recently highlighted by MSNBC as one of the top ten cities in America where business opportunities are rising. With the $950 million MGM Springfield project rising, the long awaited redevelopment of historic Union Station, and the new construction of the state of the art CRRC Corporation railcar assembly facility, Springfield continues to be an economic force in New England.

The business community in the city continues to thrive. While small businesses find the city a great place for a startup, we are also home to companies known around the world. MassMutual Financial Group is a Fortune 100 company that is headquartered in Springfield and employs 3,800 in Springfield alone. Companies like Smith & Wesson, Big Y Foods, Merriam-Webster, Performance Food Group, Liberty Mutual, and Peter Pan Bus Lines all call Springfield home. Major healthcare providers Baystate Health, Mercy Medical Center, and Shriners Hospital make the city the place in Western Massachusetts for top-notch healthcare.

With a newly branded Cultural District, the city is the cultural center of Western Massachusetts. Our world-class Springfield Museums, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, City Stage, and the Armory National Park Site rival attractions in cities twice our size. Our Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a one-of-a-kind, spherical museum that features legends of the past, present, and future. We are also a hockey town – home to both the headquarters of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the AHL’s popular Springfield Thunderbirds.

The Springfield Museums feature a collection of five world-class museums including a stunning art collection as well as the Museum of Springfield History – celebrating the history, culture, and innovation that helped make Springfield what it is today. The Museums continue to grow with the 2017 addition of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, honoring the work of beloved Springfield native Theodor Geisel.

Inspiration comes in the form of education as well, with four college campuses and several additional satellite locations in the city. Springfield is a proud affiliate of the Knowledge Corridor, which has the second highest number of higher education institutions in all of New England.

These are just a few things that make this city a great place to live and work. Springfield is a place with a storied history and exciting future, and we hope you will join us in making this the best city in America.

– Mayor Domenic J. Sarno

Historical Perspective

Historic re-enactment at the Springfield Armory National Historic site.
Historic re-enactment at the Springfield Armory National Historic site.

William Pynchon and a company of six men from Roxbury, a town near Boston, established Springfield in 1636 at the junction of the Agawam and Connecticut Rivers. Pynchon bought from the Indians the land that now contains the towns of Agawam, West Springfield, Longmeadow, and the city of Springfield for the purpose of establishing a trading and fur-collecting post. In 1641, the town of Springfield, named in honor of Pynchon's English birthplace, was incorporated. Springfield officially became a city in May of 1852.

Springfield's location at the crossroads of New England is the most significant reason for its progress and continuing economic success. The Connecticut River served as an easy and economical means of transportation north and south for early settlers. Midway between New York and Boston and on the road between New York and Canada, Springfield is ideally located for travel in all directions.

From its fur-trading and agricultural beginnings, Springfield gradually grew into a thriving industrial community. In the eighteenth century, the power of the Connecticut River was harnessed. Mills of all varieties grew up and a skilled labor force came into being. Because of the area's location and technological advancements, particularly in metal crafts, the United States Armory was located here in 1794, resulting in further industrial development.

In the nineteenth century, Springfield became a major railroad center and experienced another industrial boom. The city grew, and such industries as printing, machine manufacture, insurance, and finance took hold and prospered. As affluence increased, it became a gracious city with a noted educational system.

In 2010 Springfield was a city of 153,060 (Federal census count). It is a multicultural community, and is the regional center for banking, finance, and courts.

River, railroads, and highways were the assets that made Springfield what it is today. Its central location now offers the potential for development of high technology communications leading to new growth in the twenty-first century.

Fifty Springfield Firsts

  • Springfield in the United States
  • Banned Book in the Americas
  • Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat"
  • Basketball's Birthplace
  • American-made Automobile
  • Telephone Party Line
  • Campfire Girls Founded
  • Witch Trial - Initial Proceedings
  • Thornton W. Burgess' Peter Cottontail
  • Clarence Birdseye's Frozen Foods
  • Indian Motorcycle - Gas Powered Motorcycle
  • Board Game - The Checkered Game of Life
  • Duryea Car - Commercially Sold Automobile
  • Ted Shawn Male Dancers
  • Largest U.S. Gun Maker - Smith & Wesson
  • Goodyear's Pliable Rubber Tires
  • Whistler's Father Built N.E. Railroads
  • "Good Housekeeping Magazine" Founded
  • Mass Mutual Insurance - Top 10 in U.S.
  • The Armory - Miltary Arsenal
  • Adjustable "Monkey" wrench
  • Blanchard's Assembly Line
  • Name of the Republican Party Given
  • Publication of Emily Dickinson Poems
  • Postcards Manufactured
  • Envelopes Manufactured
  • Friction Matches Patented
  • Fastened Ice Skates
  • Dog Show in the United States
  • Motorized Fire Wagon
  • Helen Hayes' Theatrical Debut
  • Junior Achievement Founded
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary Published
  • Planetarium - U.S. Designed and Built
  • Rolls Royce American Plant
  • Adult Education in the United States
  • YMCA Training School
  • Commercial Radio Station
  • UHF Television Station
  • Gee Bee Monoplane Built
  • Parking Meter in the United States
  • Railroad Sleeping Cars
  • Meat-Packing Industry
  • Springfield Rifle
  • Garand Rifle
  • The Musket
  • Repeating Pistol
  • Semi-automatic Rifle
  • Motorized Tractors
  • Electric Sewing Machine Needle

Page last updated:  Wednesday, June 20, 2018 08:38 am