1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Springfield (Missouri)

SPRINGFIELD, a city and the county-seat of Greene county, Missouri, U.S.A., in the S.W. part of the state, about 238 m. from St Louis. Pop. (1890), 21,850; (1900), 23,267, of whom 2268 were negroes and 1057 foreign-born; (1910, census), 35,201. It is served by the St Louis & San Francisco, the Missouri Pacific, and the Kansas City, Clinton & Springfield railways. The city is pleasantly situated on the Ozark Dome, about 1300 ft. above sea-level, is regularly laid out on an undulating site, and has attractive residential districts. The principal building is that of the Federal government (1894), which is built of Indiana cut stone. Springfield is the seat of Loretto Academy, of a state normal school, and of Drury College (co-educational; founded in 1873 by Congregationalists, but now undenominational), which comprises, besides the college proper, an academy, a conservatory of music and a summer school, and which in 1908-1909 had 500 students. Near the city is the Academy of the Visitation under the Sisters of St Chantal. The municipal water-supply is drawn from springs 3 m. north of the centre of the city. There are four large private parks (340 acres) on the outskirts, and two municipal cemeteries—a Confederate cemetery, maintained by associations, the only distinctively Confederate burial ground in Missouri; and a National cemetery, maintained by the United States government. Springfield is one of the two chief commercial centres of this region, which has large mining, fruit, grain, lumber and livestock interests. The jobbing trade is important. Springfield ranks fourth among the manufacturing cities of the state; in 1905 the value of its factory products was $5,293,315 (28.2% more than in 1900). Flour and grist mill products constituted in 1905 a third of the total; and carriages and wagons ranked next. The St Louis & San Francisco railway has large shops here.

Springfield was settled in the years following 1829, and was laid out in 1833, though the public lands did not pass from the United States for sale until 1837. In 1838 and again in 1846 Springfield was incorporated as a town, and in 1847 was chartered as a city; though government lapsed during much of the time up to 1865, when prosperous conditions became settled. At the opening of the Civil War, Springfield was one of the most important strategic points west of the Mississippi river. In 1861-62 it was occupied or controlled a half dozen times in succession by the Confederate and the Union forces, the latter retaining control of it after the spring of 1862. In the battle of Wilson's Creek (August 10, 1861), fought about 10 m. south of the city, and one of the bloodiest battles of the war, relatively to numbers engaged, a force of about 5500 Union soldiers under General Nathaniel Lyon was defeated by about 10,000 Confederates under Generals Benjamin McCulloch (1811-1862) and Sterling Price. The other occupations and abandonments were unattended by serious conflicts in the immediate vicinity. In January 1863, after Springfield had been made an important Union supply post, it was attacked without success by a Confederate force of about 2000 men under General J. S. Marmaduke. The year 1870 was marked by the arrival of the first railway. In the same year North Springfield was laid out, and was incorporated as a town in 1870 and 1871. In 1881 Springfield was chartered as a city of a higher class, and in 1887 it absorbed North Springfield. After 1902 the city's growth in population and in industries was very rapid.