Springfield Township is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 15,817, the highest recorded at any decennial census, reflecting an increase of 1,388 (+9.6%) from the 14,429 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,009 (+7.5%) from the 13,420 counted in the 1990 Census.
Springfield was formed as a township on April 14, 1794, from portions of Elizabeth Township and Newark Township, while the area was still part of Essex County, and was incorporated as one of New Jersey's first 104 townships by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. It became part of the newly formed Union County on March 19, 1857, with portions remaining in Essex County used to create Millburn. Other portions of the township have been taken to form New Providence Township (November 8, 1809, now known as Berkeley Heights), Livingston (February 5, 1813), Summit (March 23, 1869) and Cranford (March 14, 1871).
Springfield is the home of the Baltusrol Golf Club, which was the host to the 2005 PGA Championship. It has also hosted other golf major championships, including the U.S. Open, held on seven occasions at Baltusrol, most recently in 1993. Golfweek magazine ranked Baltusrol as the 36th best in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Classic Courses" in the country.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Springfield as the 85th best place to live in New Jersey in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
Springfield is celebrated as the site of a Battle of Springfield between the American Continental Army and British forces on June 23, 1780. The British, under Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, advanced from Elizabethtown about 5 o'clock in the morning. They were opposed by General Nathanael Greene, but owing to the superior number of the enemy he was compelled to evacuate Springfield, which was then burned by the British. During the action the Rev. James Caldwell, chaplain in the New Jersey brigade, is said to have distributed the Watts hymn books from the neighboring Presbyterian Church among the soldiers for wadding, saying at the same time, "Now put Watts into them, boys." This battle prevented further advance on the part of the British. The American loss was about 15 and that of the British about 150.
Some historical landmarks from the Revolution still stand: the Cannon Ball House, which has since been converted into a museum was (according to the township's official website) "Built circa 1741 and served as a farmhouse at the time of the Revolutionary War. During the Battle of Springfield (June 23, 1780) the British used it as a hospital. ... It was one of only three buildings left standing when all others including the Presbyterian Church where Reverend James Caldwell had taken Watts hymnbooks for rifle wadding, were set on fire. ... In later years the house became a tavern to serve travelers on Morris (Ave) Turnpike. The farmland was later sold off, and it served then as a private residence. The property was acquired by the Springfield Historical Society in 1955. It has become known as The Cannon Ball House because a cannonball was found on the west side embedded in a beam. ... The Cannon Ball House has five revolutionary era rooms, some American Civil War items, early tools, a Battle diorama and a colonial garden. It has just been (1998) renovated to its original appearance and color." Springfield's First Presbyterian Church, which had been burned by the British, was rebuilt, using much of the original structure and it remains at 210 Morris Avenue. The statue of a Continental Soldier out front is the smallest state park in New Jersey.