Springfield: Recreation

views updated May 18 2018

Springfield: Recreation


Springfield, the birthplace of basketball, is the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, an international shrine honoring the creator of the game, its players, and its coaches. The Hall of Fame features a cinema that places the visitor in the midst of an exciting game, a chance to shoot hoops from a moving walkway, and a locker-room filled with memorabilia of the stars.

Springfield is also the site of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, where General George Washington established the Springfield Armory in 1794. While the arsenal itself closed in 1968, a large firearms museum is now housed there, one of the most extensive collections of weapons in the world.

The Indian Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame celebrates the birthplace of the motorcycle and its manufacture by the Indian Company. In addition to vintage motorcycles, on display are other Indian products such as airplane engines, outboard boat motors, lawnmowers, street cleaners, and snowmobiles.

Among Springfield's historic areas are the McKnight District, whose 900 Victorian homes rank it as the largest of its type in New England; Mattoon Street, with its brick row houses and gas lamps; Sterns Square, a small park resulting from the collaboration of sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens and architect Stanford White; and Court Square, a part of the Massachusetts Heritage State Park Program. New England village life comes alive at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield.

Forest Park, an idyllic refuge within the city, mixes recreational offerings with a zoo, an amphitheater, paddleboats, and a miniature train ride. Riverfront Park was established in 1978 to promote recreational use of the Connecticut River. Peter Pan now runs hour-long narrated river cruises from the park from May through October.

Flanking the Court Street Square in downtown Springfield are the City Hall, boasting Corinthian columns and 27 varieties of marble, and the Campanile, a 300-foot carillon bell tower. The Campanile and City Hall are part of the Municipal Group, which also includes Symphony Hall.

Arts and Culture

Springfield's major performing arts centers are the Springfield Civic Center, Symphony Hall, and the CityStage. The Civic Center is the site of touring concert and musical performances throughout the year; it is undergoing a renovation that will transform it into the MassMutual Center. Symphony Hall, dedicated in 1913 and renowned for its acoustics and ornate architecture, is home to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. This symphony, the city's resident professional performing and educational group, also performs at area parks in the summer; among its repertoire are classical, chamber, opera, and popular pieces. CityStage is a professional, not-for-profit theater that hosts a variety of musical and dramatic programs.

The Quadrangle is the site of the Springfield City Library and the city's four major museums. European and American graphics, sculptures, and paintings, including the works of Claude Monet and Degas, are on display at the Museum of Fine Arts. The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum houses the collection of the museum's namesake, which includes such pieces as Samurai arms and armor, Middle Eastern rugs, the largest collection of Chinese cloisonné outside of Asia, and Japanese glass, jades, bronzes, lacquers, porcelain, and paintings. The social and economic life of the Pioneer Valley is traced at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, which also features arts and crafts by local artisans. The Springfield Science Museum houses the country's first American-built planetarium, along with an observatory, a fresh-water aquarium, and dinosaur and African exhibit halls. Also located at the Quadrangle is the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, commemorating the beloved characters invented by one of Springfield's most famous residents, Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

The Hatikvah Holocaust Education & Resource Center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating about the past and combating prejudice in contemporary society. The Zoo in Forest Park teaches children about the animal world on a 4.5-acre site. The Avis Neigher Gallery, at the Tower Square, is a non-profit artists' collaborative and gallery for local artists. Exhibits of contemporary and traditional art are ongoing. The Zone Art Center serves as a gallery for international and local artists, as well as a showcase for music, poetry, films, and theater.

Arts and Culture Information: Springfield Library & Museums Association, 220 State St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413)263-6800; toll-free (800)625-7738; email [email protected]

Festivals and Holidays

Many of Springfield's holiday festivals center around basketball, beginning with the opening of the professional and college season in November. The Peachbasket Festival and Tip-Off Classic, including opening games, parades, and parties, is held in downtown Springfield. In the National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame Game, the defending NBA champions play a league opponent in an October exhibition game. The "greats" of the game are enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in October, closing out the season.

The city invites residents and visitors to bring their appetites to the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast, an event held on the Saturday closest to May 14th, the anniversary of the city's founding in 1636; about 75,850 servings of pancakes were dished out in 2002. Other Springfield events include the Peter Pan Taste of Springfield food festival in June, and Star-Spangled Springfield, the city's Fourth of July celebration that features fireworks over the Connecticut River and a concert by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. A summer concert series is presented in the city's parks.

The Puerto Rican Cultural Festival takes place in July, and is followed by the Mattoon Street Arts Festival in September. Springfield area Greeks celebrate their culture at the September Glendi Festival, while local Italians turn out in force at the October Columbus Day Parade. To mark the beginning of the Christmas season, the Annual Parade of the Big Balloons takes place the day after Thanksgiving. It is followed by a month of holiday festivities throughout the city, including First Night, a traditional New Year's Eve extravaganza that launches the new year. Bright Nights at Forest Park starts the week before Thanksgiving and runs through the first week of January; this two-and-one-half-mile drive through lighting displays boasts 350,000 lights in a variety of seasonal displays.

West Springfield is the site of The Big E (Eastern States Exposition), a 17-day fair in September and October with entertainment and cultural competitions that is one of the largest fairs in the nation. That city also hosts the American Craft Council's Craft Fair, one of the largest and most prestigious in the country, and Boating USA, the Camping & Outdoor Show, and the Sportsmen's Show at the Eastern States Exposition facility.

Sports for the Spectator

The Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League play home games at the Springfield Civic Center. The Civic Center also hosts basketball's annual NBA Hall of Fame Game, and the Collegiate Tip-Off Classic. Founded in 2001, the Springfield Spirit is a National Women's Basketball League team. The Springfield Junior Pics, a member of the USA Hockey Junior B Division, play at the Springfield Olympia Ice Center.

Springfield is home to numerous collegiate sporting events. Springfield College offers men's and women's basketball, cross country, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball; men's baseball, football, golf, and wrestling; and women's field hockey and softball. American International College offers 16 varsity sports for men and women, while Springfield Technical Community College is home to 8 intercollegiate sports teams. Western New England College offers men's and women's basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, and tennis; men's baseball, football, golf, ice hockey, and wrestling; and women's field hockey, softball, swimming, and volleyball.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, sports abound. The Western Massachusetts Pioneers, a member of the United Soccer League, play home games in Ludlow at the Lusitano Stadium, the only "soccer specific" stadium in New England. Boston is home to baseball's Red Sox, basketball's Celtics, and hockey's Bruins. The New England Patriots, an NFL team, and the New England Revolution, a Major League Soccer team, play home games at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium.

Sports for the Participant

Springfield's 42 city parks offer the full complement of team and individual sports. The 735-acre Forest Park offers skating rinks, tennis courts, and nature trails. The city boasts two golf courses, Franconia Golf Course and Veteran's Golf Course. Access to the Connecticut River is provided at Bassett's Boat Company and at Riverfront Park. Fishermen, bicyclists, downhill and cross-country skiers, campers, and hikers can all find prime facilities within a few miles of the city.

Shopping and Dining

Downtown Springfield shopping includes the specialty boutiques at Tower Square, which is anchored by three department stores and houses more than 30 specialty stores. The Eastfield Mall, located on Boston Road, offers more than 60 retail venues as well as a 16-screen movie theater. The Smith & Wesson Factory Store offers a selection of apparel, gifts, and accessories, all personalized with the legendary Smith & Wesson logo and name. Craft and art stores abound in the city; antique lovers can find items of Americana throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Springfield cuisine ranges from traditional Yankee dishes to Southeast Asian offerings, reflecting the city's ability to keep pace with the culinary offerings of its newest immigrants. Some specialties include dishes made with area produce such as apples and brown sugar, seafood from nearby lakes, "boiled dinners," and Indian pudding. Restaurants range from Gus & Paul's, a New York-style deli, to Lido Ristorante, a family-oriented Italian-American spot, to The Student Prince and Fort Restaurant, which features a wide selection of German-American food.

Visitor Information: Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1441 Main St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413)787-1548; toll-free (800)723-1548; fax (413)781-4607; email [email protected]

Springfield: Economy

views updated May 23 2018

Springfield: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Principal industries in Springfield include agriculture and dairy farming; trade, transportation, and utilities; educational and health services; government; and manufacturing. The Springfield area is rich in natural resources such as stone, lime, zinc, barium, coal, marble, sand, gravel, and lead. Abundant hardwood forests yield white oak, post oak, black oak, scarlet oak, hickory, maple, and black walnut. Indigenous wildlife include deer, furbearing animals, quail, rabbits, squirrels, doves, and waterfowl.

As an agribusiness center, the city is home to Springfield Regional Stockyards, one of the nation's largest stockyards and feeder cattle facilities. Other agriculture-related firms are creameries, meatpacking plants, and flour mills. Springfield is also a shipping center for poultry, eggs, and milk. Diversified manufacturing comprises nearly one-fourth of the metropolitan area employment base; major manufacturers include Willow Brook Foods, Aarons Automotive Products, Kraft Foods, FASCO Industries (electric motors), Sweetheart Cup Co., and General Electric.

Springfield is a regional hub for retailing and financial services, and is a popular tourist destination. The health care industry employs 25,000 people, or 15 percent of the Springfield area's total workforce, and has an economic impact of more $3 billion. The third-largest retail market in Missourisales total more than $3 billion annuallySpringfield ranks in the top 170 markets in the nation. Two medical centers, which are among Springfield's top employers, form the basis of the major health care system in the area. As the gateway to the Ozark Mountain country, the city receives millions of visitors each year.

Items and goods produced: flour, dairy products, clothing, paper cups and containers, furniture, plastics, trucks and trailers, iron and steel, concrete products, feed, fertilizers

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Businesses

Local programs

The Springfield Business Development Corporation is the economic development subsidiary of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. It offers competitive rates and reliable service through City Utilities of Springfield, and administers enterprise zone tax credits and abatements through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The Partnership Industrial Center, which broke ground in 1993, is part of the economic development public/private partnership between the City of Springfield, city utilities, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Springfield Business and Development Corporation. The partnership was formed in 1991 to promote and encourage the retention and creation of quality manufacturing and industrial jobs in the Springfield area. There are 20 companies located in the industrial park, which has currently reached 95 percent completion.

State programs

Programs offered by the state of Missouri that are available to Springfield businesses include enterprise zones, tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds, Small Business Administration programs, state financing incentive programs, and others.

Job training programs

The Springfield Business Development Corporation coordinates customized training programs through Ozarks Technical Community College.

Development Projects

According to the Chamber of Commerce, Springfield is known as Missouri's "economic engine" because in 2004, 25 percent of all new jobs in Missouri were created in Springfield even though the city represents only 3 percent of the state's workforce. Recent development projects include the Jordan Valley Park, which consists of a greenway, a public ice arena, and $1 million waterway, as well as a new expo center. The new expo facility, connected to the renovated Trade Center, results in about 110,000 square feet of contiguous convention and exhibition space. The building can accommodate 280 booths and about 4,400 people, with seating available for 3,000, and 950 spaces available for parking. A former creamery and tobacco warehouse is being converted into teaching, exhibition, and office space for arts groups in the city. This $3 million project is being funded partially through private donations. The new Hammons Field, home to the minor league baseball team the Springfield Cardinals, opened in spring 2004.

Downtown Springfield continues to be a focus for developers. Plans were announced in 2005 for a retail, entertainment, and parking complex for the Market Avenue Redevelopment Area in downtown Springfield. Developers have presented plans for College Station, which would include a six-screen movie theater within an urban entertainment destination complex that would also house restaurants and retail space. The city also plans to build a 450-space, three-story parking deck above 43,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space designed for smaller retailers.

Recent expansion projects at the airport included tripling the size of the baggage claim area, roadway realignment, an expanded long-term parking lot, and construction of an intermodal facility. The intermodal terminal, next to the existing terminal, is reserved for all passengers intending to board motorcoaches, vans, and taxis or planning to rent cars.

Economic Development Information: Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 202 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65801-1687; telephone (417)862-5567; fax (417)862-1611; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

Springfield is linked with national and international markets by a network of air, rail, and motor freight carriers. Exporting has become an integral part of the local economy; because Springfield is the site of a Port of Entry operated by the United States Customs Service, national companies can provide customs house and freight forwarding services. Air cargo services are available at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport. Rail transportation is provided by Missouri-North Arkansas and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, which maintains an intermodal hub for piggyback trailer shipping in the city. More than 40 trucking companies, many with terminals in Springfield, offer express delivery.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Springfield's population is growing at an annual rate of 2.2 percent. The labor force is described as productive and possessing a Midwestern work ethic, and there is ample access to training and retraining facilities. The metro area's workforce has grown more than 16 percent in the past decade and accounted for more than one-third of Missouri's total job growth in 2004. In addition, Springfield's economic output has doubled in the past 10 years, which makes it the fastest-growing output in the entire state of Missouri.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 183,400

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 8,800

manufacturing: 18,400

trade, transportation, and utilities: 44,400

information: 4,600

financial activities: 11,400

professional and business services: 14,400

educational and health services: 32,200

leisure and hospitality: 17,400

other services: 8,500

government: 23,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $11.87

Unemployment rate: 5.1% (February 2005)

Largest employersNumber of employees
St. John's Health System7,900
Wal-Mart Stores4,300
Springfield Public Schools3,000
Southwest Missouri State University2,665
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine2,640

Cost of Living

Salaries are low in Springfield, but so is the cost of living. The American Chamber of Commerce Research Association Cost of Living Index has rated Springfield 8 to 10 percent below the national cost of living average. Housing costs have indexed at nearly 10 percent below the national average and utility rates rank in the bottom 25 percent of those charged in the United States. According to the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, the average sales price for a home was $135,600 in 2004. Average rent for a single family was around $745 per month.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Springfield area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $195,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 88.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: graduated from 1.5% to 6%

State sales tax rate: 4.225%

Local sales tax rate: city, 1.375%; county, 0.875%

Property tax rate: $4.5262 per $100 assessed valuation. Assessed valuation is 33 1/3%

Economic Information: Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 202 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65801-1687; telephone (417)862-5567; fax (417)862-1611; email [email protected] Missouri Division of Community and Economic Development, PO Box 118, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Springfield: Economy

views updated May 29 2018

Springfield: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Springfield's diversified economic base is balanced between the public and private sectors; government, services, and retail trade are the principal industries. A central location and a highly developed transportation and communications network contribute to the city's position as a center of business and professional activity, particularly health care and finance. Springfield is also the headquarters of 12 national insurance companies and more than 165 state, regional, and national associations. Manufacturing firms in Sangamon County produce goods for national distribution and international export.

Items and goods produced: tractors, electric meters, radio parts, flour, cereal products, automatic coffee makers, mattresses, plastic pipe, farm implements, livestock and poultry feeds, yeast, power plant boiler installations, printed circuits, steel storage tanks

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The city of Springfield runs two loan programs to aid financing for the small business community. For businesses with less than five persons, the Microenterprise Loan Program offers loans between $1,000 and $10,000 for equipment, furniture, fixtures, and working capital, with interest below the market rate. Accounting assistance is also provided. The Business Loan Program provides funding up to $50,000 for non-manufacturing businesses and up to $100,000 for manufacturing businesses. The loans are granted based on job creation and gap financing.

The Springfield Enterprise Zone encourages job creation and capital investment in areas of economic distress and promotes neighborhood revitalization in targeted areas. Companies can take advantage of property tax abatements and a sales tax exemption on all building materials purchased within the state of Illinois.

State programs

In 1977 the Illinois legislature adopted the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act to provide municipalities with a unique tool to finance and stimulate urban redevelopment. Through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), cities can stimulate private investment by offering incentives to attract and retain businesses, improve their community areas, and maintain a well-educated and highly trained labor force. Currently, Springfield has four TIF districts. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity offers financial and technical assistance to qualified businesses wishing to locate or expand in Illinois.

Job training programs

The Capital City Center, a partnership between Lincoln Land Community College, Central Management Services, and the University of Illinois at Springfield, provides technology training to interested businesses through scheduled courses and customized training programs.

Development Projects

Springfield has recently undergone a spurt of intense economic development, with many companies and organizations building in or relocating to the area. In 2004 Wells Fargo Home Mortgage opened a new, $41 million, 185,000-square-foot facility, giving the company the capacity to accommodate 750 employees. Later that year a new, 43,000 square foot Illinois Supreme Court Building opened. In 2005 the Illinois Air National Guard received $10 million in federal funding for the construction of a new facility to be located at Springfield Capital Airport. The new facility will have more than 45,000 square feet of space to be used as a dining area, medical clinic, and administrative offices.

In 2005 Springfield opened the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, an event that drew local and national media attention. The 160,000-square-foot, $115 million library and museum serve as the center for research and study of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. It is the nation's largest presidential library.

Economic Development Information: City of Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, 231 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)789-2377. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 620 E. Adams, Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)782-7500

Commercial Shipping

A transportation hub for markets throughout the United States, the Springfield metropolitan area is served by 35 intrastate and 75 interstate motor freight carriers. Forty-one truck terminals are located in the community. Springfield/Sangamon County is linked with major national rail networks via five railroads, two of which operate facilities in the city, and a local rail company that maintains a switch-yard. Capital Airport provides daily commercial flights, as well as complete charter, aircraft repair and maintenance, and fuel services.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The Springfield-Sangamon County labor force is one of the largest in central Illinois, with the highest commuting-in rate of any central Illinois community. The labor pool in the Springfield area is extensive and includes unemployed, under-employed, and re-entering retirees, representing a potential available workforce of 228,057 individuals in the Springfield area. Of that number, 31 percent have experience in computers and/or electronics, 37.4 percent in health care or medical devices, 21.5 percent in manufacturing, and 20 percent in agriculture and agribusiness. Sixty-eight percent of the city's underemployed have attended college, and 52 percent are between the ages of 20 and 39. Seventy percent have indicated interest in additional training.

In an audit conducted by The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University, researchers found that the overall labor quality in Springfield is considered among the best in the nation by local employers. Employers rated employees good or very good on job performance as it relates to trainability, basic skills, productivity, and attitudes. Employees also showed low rates of turnover and absenteeism.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 110,200

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 5,100

manufacturing: 3,400

trade, transportation and utilities: 17,900

information: 3,100

financial activities: 7,500

professional and business services: 10,500

educational and health services: 16,200

leisure and hospitality: 10,200

other services: 6,400

government: 29,900

Average hourly earnings of production workers in manufacturing: $15.61 (statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 5.1% (March 2005)

Largest employers (2004)Number of employees
State of Illinois17,000
Memorial Health System3,400
St. John's Hospital2,839
Illinois National Guard2,700
Springfield School District #1862,019
City of Springfield1,707
Horace Mann Insurance Company1,280
SIU School of Medicine1,200
Springfield Clinic, LLP900
SBC Communications Inc.900
U.S. Postal Service900

Cost of Living

With a cost of living level below the national average, Springfield residents are reported to have higher disposable income for recreation, savings, and other discretionary expenditures.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Springfield area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 91.0 (U.S. average = 100.0)

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $227,414

State income tax rate: 3.0%

State sales tax rate: 5.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2.5% (plus a county tax of 0.25%)

Property tax rate: 7.87% (valuation is 33.3% of real property)

Economic Information: Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, 3 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)525-1173

Springfield: Economy

views updated May 21 2018

Springfield: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Historically, the Springfield Armory drew skilled metal workers to the city. This manufacturing expertise has broadened to include a number of diverse concerns. The city's service industry has been growing in importance, although manufacturing remains a mainstay of the Springfield economy. The industrial base of the city is particularly diverse, as Springfield is home to significant insurance, chemical, paper, government, and health care facilities. This diverse foundation is especially beneficial in difficult economic periods. The recession that struck the nation in the late 1990s, borne from a decline in the technology industry, had a lesser impact on Springfield due to its relatively low concentration of technological companies. Still, the local economy did struggle to some extent. In 2004 the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission updated the decade-old Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress to address economic concerns through seven plans of action that include cross-border collaboration with the Hartford, Connecticut, region; improving education and technology; and supporting existing industries like agriculture and manufacturing as well as emerging industries like knowledge creation, healthcare, and plastics. The report recognizes that small businesses are growing in importance; as testament, a study released in 2005 by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy ranked Springfield third of 394 regions for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Plan for Progress also recognizes that efficiencies in production processes continue to shift the local economy away from manufacturing toward services. While the number of manufacturing jobs had decreased between 1969 and 2001, employment in the service industry jumped from 150,000 to 200,000 over the same time period. The fastest growing service sectors are healthcare and education.

Among the companies headquartered in Springfield are Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Merriam-Webster Inc., Smith & Wesson Corp., and the retail food company Big Y Foods Inc.

Items and goods produced: firearms, envelopes and stationery, chemicals, machinery, electrical equipment, rubber goods, printed matter, automobile accessories, forged metals, games and toys, educational equipment.

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The city of Springfield assists in securing financing for new and expanding businesses from a variety of financing programs offered by the State of Massachusetts. The city offers property tax relief, development assistance, potential Enterprise Community benefits, and assistance with job training and workforce development.

State programs

Under the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program, Springfield is designated an Economic Target Area, an area ripe to attract and retain businesses. Approved "certified projects" with this area are eligible for state investment tax credit, abandoned building tax deductions, and municipal tax benefits. Massachusetts also offers tax increment financing, emerging technology funds, tax credits for research and development, a predevelopment assistance program, a capital access program, and bond, equipment, and export financing programs.

Job training programs

The Regional Employment Board allocates and oversees worker training programs in Hampden County designed to meet the specific needs of employers. FutureWorks, Inc. is a quasi-public agency serving both as a "one-stop" career center and a fully-equipped applicant processing, screening, and training agency. The Division of Economic Development of Springfield Technical Community College promotes the development of a highly-skilled workforce through education and customized training.

Development Projects

One of the largest development projects underway in the mid-2000s was the MassMutual Center. The $71 million expansion and renovation project, scheduled for completion in late 2005, will transform the Springfield Civic Center into a new facility with more than 40,000 square feet of exhibition space, 9,000 square feet of meeting space, and an arena that can seat up to 8,000 people. The historic Court Square Park, adjacent to the center, is undergoing $500,000 in restoration and beautification efforts to accompany the center's grand opening.

Springfield College launched a fund-raising campaign in June 2005 to raise $40 million for the construction or renovation of five buildings. Proposals to build a hotel and an entertainment-oriented retail complex on the site of the former Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which moved to a new location in 2002, were under consideration in mid-2005.

Economic Development Information: Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 26 Central St., West Springfield, MA 01089-2787; telephone (413)781-6045; fax (413)732-2593; email [email protected] Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, 255 Padgette St., Ste. 1, Chicopee, MA 01022; telephone (413)593-6421; toll-free (888)593-6421; fax (413)593-5126; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

Westover Metropolitan Airport, fifteen miles northeast of Springfield in Chicopee, serves as the region's principal air cargo handling facility. Boston & Maine Railroad and a vast fleet of commercial trucks also haul freight into Springfield.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Business leaders describe Springfield's labor force as skilled, with a strong work ethic. The region dubs itself the "Knowledge Corridor" due to the concentration of institutions of higher learning. The labor pool is not restricted to Springfield residents; rather, more than 26,000 workers commute daily across the state lines of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 294,200

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 10,500

manufacturing: 39,200

trade, transportation and utilities: 60,600

information: 4,700

financial activities: 16,300

professional and business services: 23,900

educational and health services: 53,200

leisure and hospitality: 26,700

other services: 11,300

government: 47,900

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.43

Unemployment rate: 5.8% (February 2005)

Largest employersNumber of employees
Baystate Health System6,300
Springfield Public Schools4,600
Sisters of Providence Health System4,039
MassMutual Financial Group4,000
City of Springfield2,278
Center for Human Development1,069
Peter Pan Bus Lines850
The Republican800
U.S. Postal Service774
Western New England College650

Cost of Living

Springfield refers to itself as "the city of homes." The Springfield Redevelopment Authority assists prospective homeowners through the Home Ownership Opportunity Program, the Springfield Housing Finance Mortgage Pool, and a HUD Joint Venture for Affordable Housing Award.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Springfield area.

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Cost: Not reported

State income tax rate: 5.95% on earned and business income

State sales tax rate: 5.0% on most items; does not include food and clothing, heating fuel and drugs

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: residential, $19.41 per $1,000 of assessed value; commercial, $34.54 per $1,000 of assessed value (2004)

Economic Information: Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, 1441 Main St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413) 787-1555. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 26 Central St., West Springfield, MA 01089-2787; telephone (413)781-6045; fax (413)732-2593; email [email protected]

Springfield: Recreation

views updated Jun 27 2018

Springfield: Recreation


Historic sites associated with Abraham Lincoln memorialize his presidency and his life in Springfield. The Old State Capitol Hall of Representatives, where Lincoln tried several hundred cases prior to the Civil War, has been reconstructed and completely furnished to re-create Lincoln's Illinois legislative years. The Lincoln Home, the only house Lincoln ever owned, is located in a four-block national historic area administered by the National Park Service. The Quaker-brown residence was home to the Lincoln family for 17 years, from 1944 to 1961. It now contains many authentic household furnishings and has been restored as closely as possible to its original condition. Neighboring 1850s-era residences have been similarly restored.

The Lincoln Depot marks the spot where Lincoln bade farewell to the city, and contains restored waiting rooms, exhibits, and a video presentation recreating the 12-day journey to his inauguration. The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices are in the only surviving structure where Lincoln maintained working law offices. At nearby Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Lincoln Tomb is marked with a sculpture honoring the 16th President. It is the final resting place of Abraham, Mary Todd, Tad, Eddie, and Willie Lincoln. And in nearby New Salem, 23 buildings have been restored to depict Lincoln's life here from 1831 to 1837. Costumed interpreters can be heard throughout the community's timber houses, shops, and stores.

The newest addition to Springfield's Lincoln sites is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which opened in 2004. The 200,000-square-foot complex houses the world's largest collection of documentary material on Lincoln and features high-tech exhibits, interactive displays, multimedia programs, and a reproduction of the 1861 White House. Visitors can also witness the 1860 presidential election as if it were happening today, with news coverage and campaign commercials.

There are other popular tourist attractions in the Springfield area. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 for socialite Susan Lawrence Dana, the Dana-Thomas House is an example of one of the architect's best-preserved prairie-style homes, with original furniture, art glass doors, windows, and light fixtures. The Washington Park Botanical Gardens and the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon in Washington Park are other popular sights in Springfield; the carillon is the third-largest in the world and one of the few open to the public. Animal lovers will enjoy a day spent at the Henson Robinson Zoo, which houses more than 300 animals from five continents.

Visitors to Springfield might consider a trip to nearby Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum and one of the major on-site archaeological museums in the U.S. It contains more than 15,000 square feet of exhibits focusing on Native Americans, including art and artifact displays, hands-on activities, and multimedia presentations.

Arts and Culture

Sponsoring a season of plays, the Springfield Theatre Centre is a community theater group performing musicals, comedies, and drama from September until June. The Springfield Muni Opera presents four Broadway musicals during the summer season at the 750-seat open-air theater near Lake Springfield. Each performance is accompanied by a full orchestra. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Ballet Company perform at Sangamon Auditorium and other sites throughout the city and state. During the summer months, Theatre in the Park presents a variety of entertainment in a natural outdoor amphitheater at New Salem State Historic Site; the productions include a play about Lincoln's life at New Salem.

The Illinois State Museum preserves natural, anthropological, and art histories of Illinois with changing and permanent exhibits. The new natural history hall, "Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments," demonstrates the changes in Illinois environments over the last 500 million years. The Vachel Lindsay Home is a museum and cultural center that pays tribute to one of the state's most famous artist-poets, who was known as "the prairie troubadour." The home was Lindsay's birthplace and remained his only home until his death there in 1931. The Edwards Place, built in 1833 for Benjamin and Helen Edwards, is an Italianate mansion that has been converted into an art gallery, school of art, and art library.

Festivals and Holidays

The Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair is considered one of the best art events in the United States, attracting more than 200 artists who display their work downtown near the Old State Capitol Building on the third weekend in May. The two-day event has been held for more than 40 years, and also features food vendors and live entertainment. A Children's Art Fair accompanies the main attraction. The International Carillon Festival, held seven evenings in June, is one of only a few of its kind in the country; international performers play carillon music on the bronze bells in the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, and fireworks cap off the festival.

The Illinois State Fair, held each August over a 10-day period, draws hundreds of thousands of people each year. It hosts one of the nation's largest livestock shows, as well as farm contests and one-mile harness racing on a recognized fast track. For more than 20 years, the springtime Springfield Air Rendezvous has attracted a mix of airshow acts, from internationally known aerobatics entertainment to warbirds and ultralights. In June the city's Taste of Downtown offers visitors a variety of regional and ethnic foods from many Springfield restaurants; festivities include live music, children's activities, and a pitching booth. A Festival of Trees in late November and a Christmas Parade in December inaugurate the winter holiday season, which culminates with First Night Springfield on New Year's Eve, featuring varied musical entertainment, arts events, and a midnight fireworks display.

Sports for the Spectator

Springfield is home to the national champion Springfield Junior Blues hockey team, a member of the North American Hockey League. Sports fans also follow several collegiate teams, including the nationally ranked University of Illinois at Springfield Prairie Stars soccer team. The annual Ladies Professional Golf Association/State Farm Golf Classic attracts more than 100 professional golfers to compete for $500,000 in prizes.

Sports for the Participant

The Springfield Recreation Department and the Springfield Park District maintain more than 30 parks in the city offering facilities for fishing, hiking, jogging, picnicking, tennis, ice skating, swimming, and softball. Springfield's wildlife sanctuaries provide year-round opportunities to enjoy the countryside of Sangamon County, and golfers will enjoy the city's nine public golf courses. Lake Springfield, a 4,240-acre, artificially constructed reservoir, is surrounded by 57 miles of shoreline. The area supports eight parks and recreational outlets, including boat launches for canoes, motorboats, pontoons, rowboats, and sailboats, and a marina offering boat, water ski, and jet ski rentals.

Recreation Information: Springfield Park District, 2500 S. 11th St., Springfield, IL 62703; telephone (217)544-1751

Shopping and Dining

Springfield is the commercial center for central Illinois, with a thriving downtown area full of shops in restored historic buildings offering unique gifts and clothing. Simon White Oaks Mall has the largest selection of merchandise in the region, with 115 stores, restaurants, and movie theaters. Illinois Artisans Shop at the Illinois State Museum features works by state artists. The Old Capitol Farmers' Market occupies two city blocks of downtown, and offers fresh produce, flowers, and food from more than 60 vendors.

Restaurants in the city offer a selection of American, Continental, Mediterranean, Chinese, Thai, and Korean menus. The "horseshoe sandwich," a local staple created in Springfield in 1928, consists of a ham slice topped with an English cheddar cheese sauce, and crowned with french fries representing the nails of a horseshoe. Another regional favorite is a special "chilli" recipe served by a local parlor that has spelled chili with an extra "l" since 1909.

Visitor Information: Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, 109 N. 7th St., Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)789-2360; toll-free 800-545-7300. Downtown Springfield, Inc., 3 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, Ste. 15, Springfield, IL 62704; telephone (217)544-1723

Springfield: Recreation

views updated May 11 2018

Springfield: Recreation


One of Springfield's major sightseeing attractions is Wilson's Creek National Civil War Battlefield, the site of the first battle between Union and Confederate armies in Missouri and west of the Mississippi. An automobile tour of nearly five miles encompasses all the major points with historic markers and exhibits. Springfield National Cemetery is the only cemetery where soldiers from both the North and South are buried side by side. The Wonders of Wildlife American National Fish and Wildlife Museum entertains and educates visitors about the need to preserve the environment and protect fish and wildlife. This new museum facility is adjacent to the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.

Fantastic Caverns, a natural wonder, is the only cave in North America and one of three in the world that is so large visitors must tour it in motorized vehicles. Exotic Animal Paradise, 12 miles east of Springfield in Stratford, is a 400-acre park that is home to more than 3,000 wild and exotic animals and birds. Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo, nationally known for its elephant herd, offers elephant rides to children. The zoo also breeds cheetahs and bald eagles.

Arts and Culture

A principal venue for the performing arts in Springfield is the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. A variety of cultural events are staged there, including touring Broadway productions and performances by the symphony.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Little Theater are the city's two oldest cultural organizations, with beginnings in 1934. Among the city's other performance arts institutions are the Springfield Regional Opera (performing at the 1909 Landers Theater, a historic landmark) and the Springfield Ballet. Southwest Missouri State University offers a summer series at its Tent Theater. Within the area, more than 20 music theaters like the Roy Clark Celebrity Theater and the Ray Price Show entertain country-music lovers. The Shepherd of the Hills is an outdoor theater in Branson that attracts a large audience each season with its stories on Ozark mountain families. Numerous local museums and other historic points of interest increase cultural awareness in the Springfield area. The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks houses more than 5,000 pieces of military history. Nearby Mansfield is home to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.

Festivals and Holidays

Bass Pro Shops, "the world's greatest sporting goods store," presents a Spring Fishing Classic in Springfield in March. Historic Walnut Street is the site of a May Artsfest. A balloon race and Firefalla fireworks display accompanied by the Springfield Symphonyare popular Fourth of July events. The Ozark Empire Fair in August also attracts large crowds. The Springfield Art Museum hosts a national "Watercolor USA" show each summer. In nearby Silver Dollar City, the Mountain Folks Music Festival is held the third week of June. Ozark Empire Fair, Missouri's second largest and one of the top rated fairs in the country, is held in late July. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield sponsors special programs each year on Memorial Day, Independence Day, August 10, and Labor Day. The Ozark Auto Show, a collector car auction, draws vintage automobile buffs to nearby Branson on the last weekend of October.

Arts and Culture Information: Springfield Regional Arts Council, 411 N. Sherman Parkway, Springfield, MO 65802; telephone (417)862-2787

Sports for the Spectator

The minor league baseball team the Springfield Cardinals play in Hammons Field, a multimillion baseball park that opened in 2004. Six local colleges and universities field a variety of teams in intercollegiate sports competition. The Drury Panthers and the Southwest Missouri State University Bears basketball teams frequently compete in national tournament play, as do the Lady Bears. The Springfield Lasers, a professional team, compete at the Cooper Tennis Complex.

Sports for the Participant

Some 50 city parks are located throughout Springfield. Nearby is the Mark Twain National Forest and Mincy Wildlife area. A number of freshwater lakes close to Springfield provide opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating, and water skiing. For the golfer Springfield offers three municipal courses. The city maintains more than 50 tennis courts and 6 city pools. A variety of sports programs are sponsored by the city. Skiing in the Ozark Mountains is possible year-round.

Recreation Information: Parks Department, telephone (417)864-1049. For hunting and fishing information, Missouri Department of Conservation, 2901 West Truman Boulevard, Jefferson City, MO 65102; telephone (573)751-4115

Shopping and Dining

Battlefield Mall, one of the state's largest shopping malls, with 170 shops and 4 anchor department stores, is located in Springfield. A popular shopping district is a nineteenth-century village consisting of renovated buildings with shops offering quilts, crafts, and folk art. An antique mall and flea market houses more than 70 dealers in a three-story building, the largest such enterprise in the Ozarks. This antique mart sells everything from comic books and baseball cards to antique coins, dolls, toys, jewelry, furniture, and furnishings. A large reproduction shop is also on the premises. Nearby Silver Dollar City features products made by resident craftsmen using nineteenth-century skills. Bass Pro Shops, billing itself as the world's largest sporting goods store, is located in Springfield and specializes in equipment for anglers, hunters, and others. This unusual shop sports a two-story log cabin with water wheel, a four-story waterfall, fresh water and salt water aquariums, and daily fish feedings by divers, as well as a 300,000-square-foot showroom and a NASCAR shop.

The more than 600 restaurants in Springfield specialize in a variety of cuisines that include authentic ethnic foods and Southern cooking. One of the more popular dining establishments serves fish one night and prime rib the next, in addition to an eclectic menu that offers Ozark dishes.

Visitor Information: Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, 3315 East Battlefield Road, Springfield, MO 65804; telephone (417)881-5300; toll-free (800)678-8767; fax (417)881-2231

Springfield: History

views updated May 29 2018

Springfield: History

Connecticut River Supports Farming Settlement

In 1636 fur trader William Pynchon led a group of settlers westward from Boston to a site on the west bank of the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts. The fledgling community, named Agawam, soon retreated to the river's east bank to escape raids by the native Sokoki tribe, who resented the damage done to their corn by the settlers' livestock. In 1640 the town was renamed Springfield in honor of Pynchon's English birthplace. The town was burned in 1675 during King Philip's War but was soon rebuilt.

Springfield grew as a farming and mercantile site, depending upon the Connecticut River for water, transportation, and industrial power. In 1776 General George Washington selected Springfield as the site for a national arsenal, which was built in 1777. The town then became an important source of supplies for the American Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The arsenal's first weapon was a musket. Following the war, Daniel Shays, leader of Shays's Rebellion, led an unsuccessful attempt to seize the arsenal in 1787. In 1794 the federal government established the arsenal as the Springfield Armory.

The Springfield Armory and later the arrival of the railroad did much to boost the city's economic prosperity. Skilled artisans, including metal workers and inventors, flocked to the city, attracted by work in the Armory and its suppliers. By the mid-nineteenth century, Springfield and the Pioneer Valley (named for the early English settlers) had developed a diverse industrial base. The Western Railroad began running between Springfield and Worcester, MA, in 1839. The G. & C. Merriam Company published its first Merriam-Webster Dictionary in Springfield in 1847. Smith & Wesson established a manufacturing facility in the city in 1857, successfully producing the first self-primed metallic ammunition. Three years later Milton Bradley, a manufacturer of games, was founded in Springfield. Other products manufactured in the city included clothing, paper, machinery, and swords.

Industry Joins Armory in Local Economy

During the Civil War era, abolitionist John Brown lived in Springfield and made it an important stop on the Underground Railroad that aided slaves fleeing the South. The Springfield Armory supplied Springfield rifles for the Union Army during the Civil War. These rifles were also used in the Franco-Prussian War. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the Armory on his honeymoon and described the stacks of rifles in the poem "The Arsenal at Springfield."

James Naismith, the father of basketball, set down the rules of the game in Springfield in 1891. In 1893 Charles and Frank Duryea invented what is often regarded as the first gasoline-powered automobile in the United States. The Duryeas' first car was a two-cycle, one-cylinder model. Two years later the brothers founded the first automobile company in the nation, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company. A Duryea vehicle won the country's first automobile race, held that year in Chicago. George Hendee invented the motorcycle in 1901 in Springfield. It was inventions such as these and the industries they engendered that brought about what historians call "the second colonization of New England." Huge numbers of immigrants arrived on the country's eastern shores and moved westward in search of work. In Springfield, as elsewhere, the Irish came first to build the railroads and canals. They were followed by the French-Canadians, who sought work in the textile mills. Later arrivals included the Germans, Scots, Italians, Jews, Russians, Poles, Portuguese, Greeks, African Americans, and Hispanics.

During World War I, the Springfield Armory again played an important role in the country's defense, supplying the Springfield rifles which were the infantryman's stock issue. By the Second World War, the Armory was supplying Ga-rand semiautomatic rifles for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The Indian Motorcycle Company closed its doors in 1953, but its fame as the builder of the first U.S. motorcycles lives on in the Indian Motorcycle Museum. Though the Springfield Armory was deactivated in 1968, the city is still home to a number of small arms manufacturers who continue the craft, including Smith & Wesson and Dan Wesson Arms. The Armory itself has been designated a national historic site.

Springfield elected its first female mayor, Mary Hurley, in 1990. A decade later, in 2002, Charles Ryan was reelected mayor of Springfield. Having served in this capacity from 1962 to 1967, Ryan promises to improve the city's economy by capitalizing on his past experience, reestablishing friendly and efficient relations between the city government and Springfield's people and businesses, and developing the area's capacity for entrepreneurship and technology.

Historical Information: Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, 194 State St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413)263-6800; toll-free (800)625-7738; email [email protected]


views updated May 23 2018


SPRINGFIELD , city in Massachusetts. As of 2005, Springfield and its suburbs had a total population of 251,000, including an estimated 10,000 Jews, a figure largely unchanged in the past quarter-century. Jews did not begin to settle in Springfield in large numbers until the East European immigration of the 1880s, though individual Jews were recorded in the city previously, among them Leopold Karpeles (1838–1909), a Congressional Medal of Honor winner in the Civil War who lived in Springfield before the war. The first synagogues – B'nai Jacob and Beth Israel – were organized in 1891–92, and within a decade five other Orthodox congregations were established to serve the rapidly growing community, whose numbers increased from about 300 to 3,000 between 1901 and 1907 alone. YMHA was organized in 1905 and a Jewish Home for the Aged in 1912. One of the first local Jews to attain prominence in these years was the Lithuanian-born Henry Lasker (1878–1953), the first local Jew to be admitted to the bar and who between 1908 and 1916 was first elected alderman and then president of the city council. Lasker was a leader of B'nai B'rith and many other Jewish and civic organizations. Two other prominent Jews were the Russian immigrants Moses Ehrlich, who had a successful scrap-iron business and Raphael Sagalyn (1881–1949), a successful wholesale dry goods and real estate businessman. Ehrlich was a prime initiator and first president of Congregation Kodimoh; Sagalyn was founder of the United Hebrew Schools and president of its board of directors.

Following the restrictive immigration laws of the 1920s, the Jewish population of Springfield ceased its rapid growth but institutional life continued to develop. In 1921, the first Conservative synagogue, Congregation Beth El, was founded, and in 1932 a Reform congregation, Sinai Temple. The Jewish Community Council (predecessor to the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield) was established in 1925, and the Jewish Social Service Bureau was established in 1927. In 1966, eight synagogues and temples were in existence in Greater Springfield, five Orthodox, two Conservative, and one Reform. The initial settlement took place in the city's older residential areas, primarily the North End area. After World War ii, both the newer urban areas and the suburb of Longmeadow became increasingly popular. By 1966, only 5% of Greater Springfield's Jews still lived in the older area of settlement, while 60% lived in the newer urban areas. Of the 35% who resided in the suburbs, all but 3% were in Longmeadow, which adjoins the largest of the newer urban areas within Springfield proper, Forest Park. Accordingly, three of the largest Jewish institutions in the city, Temple Sinai, Congregation Beth El, and the Jewish Community Center, are all located near each other on the Longmeadow – Forest Park line, with two other synagogues remaining in Forest Park.

High educational achievement and occupational affiliation characterized the Jewish community in the late 1960s. Among adults, 40% had had at least some college education. One-fourth were engaged in professional work and 40% were managers or proprietors. An additional 27% were employed as clerical or sales workers; only 8% of the Jews were blue collar workers. Almost 80% of the Jews of Springfield were affiliated with a congregation; slightly more persons were members of Orthodox synagogues (41%) than of Conservative congregations (39%), and 20% belonged to the Reform Temple. Part-time religious schools were affiliated with the various synagogues, and there were the community-wide United Hebrew School and two day schools, the Heritage Academy and the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. Two-thirds of all children between 5 and 14 years of age were enrolled in some program of Jewish education.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, a different picture has emerged, consistent with demographic trends throughout the country. Springfield's Jewish affiliation rate is now approximately the same as the national average of just above 40%. Although Springfield's Jewish community remains highly educated, much of the population is engaged in the professions (medicine, law, etc.), with very few proprietors and entrepreneurs. The Jewish population is increasingly older, with a small number of young families continuing to move to the area. In 2005, Springfield/Longmeadow had two day schools (Heritage Academy, Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy) and six synagogues: three Orthodox (Congregation Kodimoh, Kesser Israel, and Beth Israel), two Conservative (Beth El and B'nai Jacob), and one Reform (Sinai Temple).

The Jewish community has grown significantly in the area just north of Springfield to the Vermont border. The communities of Northampton and Amherst, in particular, have witnessed significant Jewish growth, with approximately 5,000 Jews in these communities. Home to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Smith College and others, the area attracts many academics, artists, and young professionals from larger cities. In 2005, the Upper Pioneer Valley boasted four synagogues, two of them with several hundred families. There are two Conservative synagogues (B'nai Israel, Northampton; Temple Israel, Greenfield), one Reform (Beit Ahavah, Northampton), and one Reconstructionist (Jewish Community of Amherst). Founded in the 1990s, the Solomon Schechter School of the Pioneer Valley has opened its doors to 100 students.

A variety of organizations and services continue to cater to the needs of the community. The Springfield Jewish Community Center traces its origins to the ymha. The Jewish community supports a wide range of Zionist and fraternal organizations, with a strong Federation and an active Hadassah chapter, as well as many groups under temple auspices. The community is also the home of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Among notable members of the Springfield Jewish community are Frank Freedman, mayor, elected in 1967; Alan Sisitsky, state representative, elected in 1968; Paul Akerman, city councilman; Joel Levitt, president of the Springfield Jewish Federation (founded in 1938) and president of the Springfield Sugar Company; Irving Geisser, executive director of the federation and a member of the executive committee of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council; Charles Nirenberg, Founder of Dairy Mart; and Harold Grinspoon, nationally recognized philanthropist and founder of Aspen Square Management.

[Sidney Goldstein /

Harold Berman (2nd ed.)]

Springfield: Education and Research

views updated May 11 2018

Springfield: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Springfield Public School System includes pioneering programs in race relations, vocational and technical education, business education, toddler preschool, schools for gifted and talented children, and magnet schools. The Community Service Learning Program involves every child from kindergarten through high school in volunteer community work.

Specialized schools in the system include the Massachusetts Career Development Institute and SAGE, the Springfield Adolescent Graduation Experience.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Springfield public school system as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 25,955

Number of facilities elementary schools: 31

junior high/middle schools: 6

senior high schools: 6

other: 9, including one K-8 school

Student/teacher ratio: 11.6:1 (20042005)

Teacher salaries average: $47,036

Funding per pupil: $6,263

In addition to about 34 parochial schools, Springfield's private schools include two specialized secondary institutes. The MacDuffie School is a college-preparatory school for girls and boys.

Public Schools Information: Springfield Public Schools, 195 State St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413)787-7100

Colleges and Universities

With four colleges within the city limits and several nationally acclaimed schools within driving distance, Springfield is near the hub of western Massachusetts's academic community. Springfield College, a private school specializing in physical education and health and fitness, offers 50 undergraduate and 13 graduate majors. Western New England College focuses on liberal arts, business, law, and engineering; this private school enrolls 4,550 students, 500 of which are pursuing law degrees. American International College, a private liberal arts school, confers more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees in arts, business administration, and education. Springfield Technical Community College grants associate's degrees or certificates in business, health, liberal arts, engineering, and technologies to 7,000 students; the college occupies the complex established by George Washington as the nation's first arsenal, the Springfield Armory, now a national historic site. The Springfield campus of Cambridge College enrolls approximately 390 students.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Springfield City Library, the second largest system in New England, features nearly 800,000 volumes held among 10 branches. The main branch is situated in the Quadrangle, a cultural complex it shares with Springfield's four major museums. Among its services are an employment resource center, comprehensive business collections, on-line data base searching, an African American history collection, an art and music collection that includes musical scores, 300 periodicals, 20 newspapers, a children's department, and material for special adult reading needs. The library's other special interests include New England and French genealogy, the Holocaust, local history, WWI and WWII propaganda, and American wood engravings. Additionally, the library serves as a depository for federal government documents and Massachusetts state documents.

In addition to the college and hospital libraries, special libraries in Springfield include the Massachusetts Trial Court Library, Hampden Law Library, the Springfield Armory National Historic Site Library and Archives, the Hickox Library at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum Research Library. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has a company library.

The American International College Curtis Blake Center studies learning disorders and A.I.C.'s Oral History Center studies western Massachusetts and Connecticut oral history. Springfield College does research in physiology and physical fitness.

Public Library Information: Springfield Library, 220 State St., Springfield, MA 01103; telephone (413)263-6828; fax (413)263-6817; email [email protected]

Springfield: History

views updated May 29 2018

Springfield: History

Sangamon River Valley Attracts Settlers

At the time Illinois was admitted to the Union in 1818, the city of Springfield did not exist. In that same year Elisha Kelly of North Carolina, attracted to the fertile Sangamon River valley, built the first homestead at a location that is now the northwest corner of Springfield's Second and Jefferson streets. Other settlers soon arrived and a small settlement began to take shape around the Kelly cabin. When Sangamon County was created in 1821, the Kelly colony was the only one large enough to house county officials. The town was named Springfield in April 1821, the name being derived from Spring Creek and one of the Kelly family's fields. Springfield became the county seat in 1825 and received its incorporation in 1832.

Through the leadership of young Abraham Lincoln, one of the "Long Nine"seven representatives and two senators whose total height measured 54 feetthe state capital of Illinois was transferred from Vandalia to Springfield. Lincoln, who lived in the village of New Salem, 20 miles northwest of the city, moved to the new capital on April 15, 1837; he remained there until he left for Washington, D.C., on February 11, 1861, as the sixteenth president-elect of the United States on the eve of the American Civil War. During Lincoln's twenty-five years in Springfield as a lawyer and politician, the city experienced prosperity and growth, becoming a city in 1840 and recording a population of 9,400 people by 1860.

Monuments Memorialize Lincoln in Springfield

The city of Springfield is a tribute to Lincoln, rivaling Washington, D.C., in the grandeur and significance of its public monuments, shrines, and historic buildings. The Old State Capitol, a Greek Revival style building constructed in 1837, is one of the most historically significant structures west of the Alleghenies. Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech on June 16, 1858, and maintained an office as president-elect there. His body lay in state in the Capitol's House of Representatives on May 5, 1865. The Lincoln Tomb and memorial in Oak Ridge Cemetery was dedicated in 1874. The marble burial chamber holds the bodies of Lincoln, his wife Mary, and sons Edward Baker, William Wallace, and Thomas ("Tad"). The Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center, designed by Jens Jensen, reflects the Illinois landscape of Lincoln's time. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, the Lincoln Depot (formerly Great Western depot, where he gave his farewell speech to Springfield), and the Lincoln Family Pew at the First Presbyterian Church complete the sites memorializing Lincoln's life in Springfield.

At the center of Springfield's history and daily life is state politics. After the Civil War, to prevent the removal of the capital to Peoria, Springfield citizens bought the old capitol building for $200,000, which was then used to finance a new structure. Begun in 1868 and finished 20 years later at a cost of $4.5 million, the capitol rises 461 feet above the city and is in the form of a Latin cross with a vast dome in the center, capped with stained glass. The building was renovated in 1958.

Springfield Emerges as Regional Center

In 1914 the Russell Sage Foundation picked Springfield for one of its sociological surveys to aid social welfare organizations. The creation of man-made Lake Springfield, the largest civic project in the city's history, was approved in 1930 and financed by a bond issue and federal funds. The city became a wholesale and retail center for the thriving agricultural region.

Today, Springfield continues to serve as a center of government, culture, and business for central Illinois. With the addition of the multi-million-dollar Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the city also continues to be an attraction for national and international visitors interested in presidential and American history.

Historical Information: Sangamon County Historical Society, 308 E. Adams St., Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)753-4900. Illinois State Historical Society, 210 1/2 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL 62701; telephone (217)525-2781

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