Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 153,060. Metropolitan Springfield – one of two metropolitan areas in Massachusetts (the other being Greater Boston) – has an estimated population of 698,903, as of 2009.
The first Springfield in the New World, it is the largest city in Western New England, and the urban, economic, and cultural capital of Massachusetts' Connecticut River Valley, (colloquially known as the Pioneer Valley). It is the third-largest city in Massachusetts and fourth-largest in New England (Boston, Worcester, and Providence are larger). Springfield has several nicknames – The City of Firsts, because of its many innovations (see below for a partial list); The City of Homes, due to its Victorian residential architecture; and Hoop City, because basketball, one of the worlds most popular sports, was invented in Springfield.
Hartford, the State of Connecticut's capital city, lies only south of Springfield, on the western bank of the Connecticut River. Springfield residents use Bradley International Airport (owned and operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation). Also known as the Hartford-Springfield airport, it lies equidistant between them. The Hartford-Springfield region is known as the Knowledge Corridor because it hosts over 160,000 university students and over 32 universities and liberal arts colleges – the second-highest concentration of higher-learning institutions in the United States. The City of Springfield itself is home to Springfield College; Western New England University; American International College; the University of Massachusetts Amherst's School of Urban Design; and Springfield Technical Community College, among other higher educational institutions.
Founded by the English colonist William Pynchon, in 1636 the city was named after his hometown of Springfield, Essex in England. The city of Springfield has played an important role throughout American history, due largely to its geography. Founded on some of New England's most fertile soil, it is located midway between Boston and Albany; it is only slightly farther from New York City. In 1777, Springfield's location led George Washington and Henry Knox to found the fledgling United States' National Armory at Springfield, which produced the first American musket in 1794, and later the famous Springfield rifle. From 1777 until its closing during the Vietnam War, the Springfield Armory attracted skilled laborers to Springfield, making it the United States' longtime epicenter for precision manufacturing. Springfielders produced many of America's most significant innovations, including the first American-English dictionary (1805, Merriam Webster); the first use of interchangeable parts and the assembly line in manufacturing, (1819, Thomas Blanchard;) the first American horseless car, (1825, Thomas Blanchard;) the discovery and patent of vulcanized rubber, (1844, Charles Goodyear;) the first American gasoline-powered car, (1893, Duryea Brothers); the first successful motorcycle company, (1901, "Indian"); one of America's first commercial radio stations, (1921, WBZ from the Hotel Kimball); and most famous for the world's second-most-popular sport, basketball, (1891, Dr. James Naismith).
Springfield was part of Middlesex County when it was formed in 1641, then in 1662 it became part of the new County of Hampshire. In 1812 when Hampshire County was split Springfield became part a new county of Hampden. One of the effects of this is that all the early probate records for what was Hampshire county ended up in Northampton the new County seat for Hampshire County, including two towns that are now part of Connecticut Suffield & Enfield. All of the early land records for the county ended up in Springfield.
Suffield & Enfield moved to Connecticut in 1749, so if you are looking for early probate records from Springfield, Suffield, Enfield, or Northampton they are in Northampton. If you are looking for early land records from Springfield, Suffield, Enfield, or Northampton they are in Springfield.
Image Gallery: Springfield College