Springfield, Massachusetts, (population 150,000) is a vibrant city on the banks of the Connecticut River that was founded in 1636. In 1794, the U.S. Army established the Springfield Armory where primary design and production of small arms took place for nearly two centuries. Springfield was the home of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss and the birthplace of basketball. The first American car was built in Springfield in 1893 by Charles and Frank Duryea, and the motorcycle industry was founded here in 1902.
Currently, many corporations have chosen Springfield as their headquarters – MassMutual, Smith & Wesson, and Big Y World Class Foods are just a few. In 2007, Country Home magazine listed Springfield as the nation’s fourth best ‘green’ city in which to live based on its parks, recycling programs, and energy conservation.
Established in 1972, the Springfield Historical Commission oversees exterior work within six local historic districts that contain approximately 1,200 properties. The commission also comments on federal or state-assisted projects that might impact properties on the National or State Registers of Historic Places.
The Connecticut Valley Historical Museum houses vast collections of furniture, goods, and exhibits that detail the history of the Pioneer Valley as far back as 1636. Some items include antique automobiles, firearms, 30,000 books, 40,000 photographs, and 2.5 million manuscripts and documents including New England family history and business records.
Using local historic sites, societies, and museums, school-age children learn about the history of Springfield and its citizens who have become prominent in science, technology, education, and the arts. Springfield also promotes its cultural heritage through a Discovery Tour that is supported by kiosks, brochures, and maps. The Discovery Tour highlights Springfield’s rich cultural and architectural history. As of 2007, 10 kiosks have been installed identifying more than 50 significant buildings, sites, and public artworks.
With more than 10,000 people of American Indian descent living in the area, the city regularly schedules a heritage event in cooperation with the Native American Intertribal Council of Western Massachusetts and the city’s museums. Each autumn, an annual National American Flag Raising Ceremony takes place on the steps of Springfield City Hall. Following this event, representatives of several tribes gather for a traditional harvest celebration that helps American Indians maintain their cultural identity.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2008.