Springfield, Massachusetts

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This article is about the city of Springfield. For the metropolitan area, see Springfield, Massachusetts metropolitan area.
City of Springfield
City
Springfield Skyline, MA.jpg
Official seal of City of Springfield
Seal
Nickname(s): The City of Firsts; The City of Progress;[1][2][3] The City of Homes; A City in the Forest;[4] Hoop City; The Metropolis of Western New England[5][5][6]
Motto: City of First!
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°06′05″N 72°35′25″W / 42.10139°N 72.59028°W / 42.10139; -72.59028
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled May 14, 1636
Incorporated 1852
Founded by William Pynchon
Government
 • Type Mayor-council city
 • Mayor Domenic Sarno (D)
Area
 • City 33.2 sq mi (86.0 km2)
 • Land 32.1 sq mi (83.1 km2)
 • Water 1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)
Elevation 70 ft (21 m)
Population (2010)[7]
 • City 153,060
 • Density 4,768.2/sq mi (1,841.9/km2)
 • Metro[8] 698,903
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01101, 01103–01105, 01107–01109, 01119, 01128–01129, 01151
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-67000
GNIS feature ID 0609092
Website www.springfieldma.gov

Springfield is a city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States.[9] 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.[7] Metropolitan Springfield, as one of two metropolitan areas in Massachusetts (the other being Greater Boston), had an estimated population of 698,903 as of 2009.[8]

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, after Boston, Worcester, and Providence, Rhode Island. 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 world's most popular sports[10] - was invented in Springfield.

Hartford, the State of Connecticut's capital city, lies only 23.9 miles (38 km) south of Springfield, on the western bank of the Connecticut River. Bradley International Airport, which sits 12 miles (19 km) south of Metro Center Springfield, is Hartford-Springfield's airport.[11][12][13] 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.[14] The City of Springfield itself is home to Springfield College; Western New England University; American International College; and Springfield Technical Community College, among other higher educational institutions.

History[edit]

Springfield was founded in 1636 by English Puritan William Pynchon as "Agawam Plantation" under the administration of the Connecticut Colony. In 1641 it was renamed after Pynchon's hometown of Springfield, Essex, England, following incidents that precipitated the settlement joining the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[15] During its early existence, Springfield flourished as both an agricultural settlement and trading post, although its prosperity waned dramatically during (and after) King Phillips War in 1675, when Natives laid siege to it and burned it to the ground.

The original settlement – today's downtown Springfield – was located atop bluffs at the confluence of four rivers, at the nexus of trade routes to Boston, Albany, New York City, and Montreal, and with some of the northeastern United States' most fertile soil.[16] In 1777, Springfield's location at numerous crossroads led George Washington and Henry Knox to establish the United States' National Armory at Springfield, which produced the first American musket in 1794, and later the famous Springfield rifle.[17] From 1777 until its closing during the Vietnam War, the Springfield Armory attracted skilled laborers to Springfield, making it the United States' longtime center for precision manufacturing.[18] The near-capture of the U.S. Arsenal at Springfield during Shays Rebellion of 1787 led directly to the formation of the U.S. Constitutional Convention.

Main Street in Springfield, 1908

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Springfielders produced many 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, broadcast from the Hotel Kimball); and most famously, the world's second-most-popular sport, basketball, (1891, Dr. James Naismith).[17]

Springfield underwent a protracted decline during the second half of the 20th century, due largely to: the decommission of the Springfield Armory in 1969; poor city planning decisions, such as the location of the elevated I-91 along the city's Connecticut Riverfront; and overall decline of industry throughout the northeastern U.S. During the 1980s and 1990s, Springfield developed a national reputation for crime, political corruption and cronyism, which stands in stark contrast to the reputation it enjoyed throughout much of U.S. history. During early 21st Century, Springfield sought to overcome its downgrade in reputation via long-term revitalization projects, and undertook several large-but-unfinished projects, including a $1 billion high-speed rail (New Haven-Hartford-Springfield high-speed rail;) [19] a proposed $1 billion MGM Casino;[20] and various other construction and revitalization projects.[21]

Geography[edit]

The Knowledge Corridor surrounding Springfield from space.

Springfield is located at 42°6′45″N 72°32′51″W / 42.11250°N 72.54750°W / 42.11250; -72.54750 (42.112411, −72.547455).[22] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.2 square miles (86 km2), of which 32.1 square miles (83 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (3.31%) is water. Once nicknamed "The City in a Forest," Springfield features over 4.0 square miles (10.4 km2) of urban parkland, (which equals 12% of its total land area.)[23]

Located in the fertile Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by mountains, bluffs, and rolling hills in all cardinal directions, Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, near its confluence with two major tributary rivers - the western Westfield River, which flows into the Connecticut opposite Springfield's South End Bridge; and the eastern Chicopee River, which flows into the Connecticut less than 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) miles north of Springfield, in the city of Chicopee, (which constituted one of Springfield's most populous neighborhoods until it separated and became an independent municipality in 1852.) [24] The Connecticut state-line sits only 4 miles (6 km) south of Springfield, beside the wealthy suburb of Longmeadow, which itself separated from Springfield in 1783.[24]

Springfield's densely urban Metro Center district surrounding Main Street is relatively flat, and follows the north-south trajectory of the Connecticut River; however, as one moves eastward, the city becomes increasingly hilly.

Aside from its rivers, Springfield's 2nd most prominent topographical feature is the city's 735 acres (297 ha) Forest Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Forest Park lies in the southwestern corner of the city, surrounded by Springfield's attractive garden districts, Forest Park and Forest Park Heights, which feature over 600 Victorian Painted Lady mansions. Forest Park also borders Western Massachusetts' most affluent town, Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Springfield shares borders with other well-heeled suburbs such as East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Ludlow and the de-industrializing city of Chicopee. The small cities of Agawam and West Springfield, Massachusetts lie less than one miles (1.6 km) across the Connecticut River from Springfield's Metro Center.

The City of Springfield also owns the Springfield Country Club, which is located in the autonomous city of West Springfield, Massachusetts, the latter of which separated form Springfield in 1774.[24]

Climate[edit]

Springfield, like other cities in southern New England, has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa) with four distinct seasons and precipitation evenly distributed throughout the year. Winters are cold with a daily average in January of around 26 °F (−3 °C). During winter, nor'easter storms can drop significant snowfalls on Springfield and the Connecticut River Valley. Temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) can occur each year, though the area does not experience the high snowfall amounts and blustery wind averages of nearby cities such as Worcester, Massachusetts and Albany, New York.

Springfield's summers are very warm and sometimes humid. During summer, several times per month, on hot days afternoon thunderstorms will develop when unstable warm air collides with approaching cold fronts. The daily average in July is around 74 °F (23 °C). Usually several days during the summer exceed 90 °F (32 °C), constituting a "heat wave." Spring and fall temperatures are usually pleasant, with mild days and crisp, cool nights. Precipitation averages 46.7 inches (1,186 mm) annually, and snowfall averages 49 inches (124 cm), most of which falls from mid-December to early March. Although not unheard of, extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes occur infrequently in Springfield compared with other areas in the country. On the occasions that hurricanes have hit New England, Springfield's inland, upriver location has caused its damages to be considerably less than shoreline cities like New Haven, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island.

On June 1, 2011, Springfield was directly hit by the second-largest tornado ever to hit Massachusetts.[25] With wind speeds exceeding 160 mph (257 km/h), the 2011 Springfield tornado left 4 dead, hundreds injured, and over 500 homeless in the City of Springfield alone.[26][27] The tornado caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to Springfield and destroyed nearly everything in a 39-mile (63 km) path from Westfield, Massachusetts to Charlton, Massachusetts.[25] It was the first deadly tornado to strike Massachusetts since May 29, 1995.


Government[edit]

City of Springfield[edit]

The City of Springfield employs a strong mayor form of city government. Springfield's mayor is Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, who has been serving since 2008.

The city's governmental bureaucracy consists of 33 departments, which administer a wide array of municipal services, e.g. police, fire, public works, parks, public health, housing, economic development, and the Springfield Public School System - New England's 2nd largest public school system.[32]

Springfield's legislative body is its City Council, which features a mix of eight ward representatives - despite that the city has more than double that number of neighborhoods, resulting in several incongruous "wards" - and five at-large city representatives, several of whom have served for well over a decade.

Finances[edit]

In 2003, the City of Springfield was on the brink of financial default, and thus taken over by a Commonwealth-appointed Finance Control Board until 2009. Disbanded in June of that year, the Control Board made great strides stabilizing Springfield's finances.[33] While Springfield has achieved balanced budgets since 2009, the city has not enlarged its tax-base, and thus many of its public works projects - which have been in the pipeline for years, some even decades - remain unfinished, (e.g., repairs to Springfield's landmark Campanile.).[34] Springfield is being considered for a $800 million development project; MGM Springfield. To many this is an impressive feat given the natural disasters and continuous cuts to state aide during the Great Recession.

The City's finances have made great stride under Mayor Domenic J. Sarno's (2008–present) leadership; despite facing natural and man made disasters: June 1, 2011 tornado Springfield Tornado, Hurricane Irene, a freak October Snow Storm (which in some ways was more damaging then the tornado),[35] and a large gas explosion in the downtown area in 2012. The City managed the recoveries with great skill and has come out in great shape; even receiving a bond upgrade from Standard and Poor's Investment Services. In addition the City of Springfield has received the GFOA's Distinguished Budget Award for six consecutive years.

Courts and decline in crime: 2005–2009[edit]

Like every other municipality in Massachusetts, Springfield has no judicial branch itself. Rather, it uses the Springfield-based state courts, which include Springfield district court and Hampden County Superior Court, both of which are based in Springfield. The Federal District Court also regularly hears cases in Springfield – now in an architecturally award-winning building on State Street, constructed in 2009.

During the late 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, Springfield experienced a wave of violent crime that negatively impacted the city's reputation, both regionally and nationally. At one point in the first decade of the 21st century, Springfield ranked as high as 18th in the United States' annual "City Crime Rankings." Since approximately 2006, the City of Springfield has experienced a dramatic, (nearly 50%) drop-off in citywide crime.[citation needed] In 2010, Springfield ranked 35th in the United States' City Crime Rankings – its 2nd lowest ranking in recent years, (in 2009, it ranked 51st). Springfield's current crime rating of 142 is down approximately 50% from its heights in the late 1990s and first decade of the 21st century.[36]

The cities of Hartford, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut, both of which in 2007 were cited as "resurgent" cities that Springfield should seek to emulate by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, are now by nearly all statistical measures, significantly more dangerous than Springfield.[37] (New Haven currently ranks 18th in the annual U.S. City Crime Rankings, and Hartford ranks 19th).[36] The Urban Land Institute states that currently "the perception of crime [in Springfield] appears to be worse than the reality."[38]

Politics[edit]

Springfield became a city on May 25, 1852, by decree of the Massachusetts Legislature, after a decade-long internal dispute that resulted in the partition of Chicopee from Springfield, and thus the loss of 2/5 of the city's population.

Springfield, like all municipalities in Massachusetts, enjoys limited home rule. The current city charter, in effect since 1959, uses a "strong mayor" government with most power concentrated in the mayor, as in Boston and elsewhere. The mayor representing the city's executive branch presents the budget, appoints commissioners and department heads, and in general runs the city. The Mayor is former City Councilor Domenic Sarno, elected November 6, 2007 by a margin of 52.54% to 47.18% against incumbent Charles Ryan. He took office in January 2008. In November 2009 and 2011, Sarno won reelection, albeit - in the latter case - with just 22% of eligible Springfield voters voting.[39]

The Springfield City council, consisting of thirteen members, is the city's legislative branch. Elected every odd numbered year, eight of its members are elected to represent "wards," which are made of (sometimes incongruous) groupings of Springfield neighborhoods, e.g. Springfield's ethnic North End neighborhoods - Memorial Square and Brightwood - share a ward with Metro Center, Springfield's downtown. Five city council members are elected at-large. The City Council passes the city's budget, holds hearings, creates departments and commissions, and amends zoning laws.

The mayor's office and city council chambers are located in city hall – part of the Municipal Group in Metro Center, Springfield. The Finance Control Board met there as well.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[40]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 44,148 52.21%
  Republican 7,734 9.15%
  Unaffiliated 32,035 37.88%
  Minor Parties 648 0.77%
Total 84,565 100%

Switch to ward representation[edit]

Springfield City Councilors 2014–2015[41]
  • Thomas Ashe(i) – At-Large
  • Justin J. Hurst – At-Large
  • Timothy J. Rooke(i) – At-Large
  • Bud L. Williams – At-Large
  • Kateri Walsh(i) – At-Large (Vice-President)
  • Zaida Luna(i) – Ward 1
  • Michael Fenton(i) – Ward 2 (President)
  • Melvin Edwards(i) – Ward 3
  • E. Henry Twiggs(i) – Ward 4
  • Clodo Concepcion(i) – Ward 5
  • Kenneth Shea – Ward 6
  • Tim Allen(i) – Ward 7
  • Orlando Ramos – Ward 8

In the past, efforts have been made to provide each of the city's eight wards a seat in the city council, instead of the current at-large format. There would still be some at-large seats under this format. The primary argument for this has been that City Councilors live in only four of the city's wards. An initiative to change the composition failed to pass the City Council twice. In 2007 Mayor Charles V. Ryan and City Councilor Jose Tosedo proposed a home-rule amendment that would expand the council to thirteen members adding four seats to the existing nine member at large system, but allocated between eight ward and five at large seats. This home-rule petition was adopted by the City Council 8–1, and was later passed by the State Senate and House and signed by the Governor. On election day, November 6, 2007, city residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the City Council and School Committee. The ballot initiative that established a new council with five at-large seats and eight ward seats passed 3–1. On November 3, 2009, Springfield held first-in-a-generation ward elections.

The results of the 2009 election were as follows.[42]

Neighborhoods[edit]

For a more complete topographical description, see the article on: Springfield, Massachusetts neighborhoods.

The City of Springfield is divided into 17 distinct neighborhoods; in alphabetical order, they are:

Economy[edit]

Smith & Wesson is headquartered in Springfield.

Springfield's Top Five Industries (in order, by number of workers) are: Trade and Transportation; Education and Health Services; Manufacturing; Tourism and Hospitality; and Government. Springfield is considered to have a "mature economy," which protects the city to a degree during recessions and inhibits it somewhat during bubbles.[52] Springfield is considered to have one of America's top emerging multi-cultural markets – the city features a 33% Latino population with buying power that has increased over 295% from 1990 to 2006. More than 60% of Hispanic Springfielders have arrived during the past 20 years.[53]

With 25 universities and colleges within 15 miles (24 km) of Springfield, (both north and south), including several of America's most prestigious universities and liberal arts colleges, and more than six institutions within the city itself, the Hartford-Springfield metropolitan area has been dubbed the Knowledge Corridor by regional educators, civic authorities, and businessmen – touting its 32 universities and liberal arts colleges, numerous highly regarded hospitals, and nearly 120,000 students. The Knowledge Corridor universities and colleges provide the region with an educated workforce, which yields a yearly GDP of over $100 billion – more than at least 16 U.S. States. Hartford-Springfield has become home to a number of biotech firms and high-speed computing centers. As of 2009 Springfield ranks as the 24th most important high-tech center in the United States with approximately 14,000 high-tech jobs.[54]

In 2010,[55] the median household income was $35,236. Median income for the family was $51,110. The per capita income was $16,863. About 21.3% of families and 26.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.0% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.

Business headquarters[edit]

The City of Springfield is the economic center of Western Massachusetts. It features the Pioneer Valley's largest concentration of retail, manufacturing, entertainment, banking, legal, and medical groups. Springfield is home to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' largest Fortune 100 company, MassMutual Financial Group. It is also home to the world's largest producer of handguns, Smith & Wesson, founded in 1852. It is home to Merriam Webster, the first and most widely read American-English dictionary, founded in 1806. It also serves as the headquarters of the professional American Hockey League, the NHL's minor league, Peter Pan Bus, and Big Y Supermarkets, among other businesses.

Springfield is also home to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' third largest employer, Baystate Health, with over 10,000 employees. Baystate is the western campus of Tufts University School of Medicine.[56] Baystate Health is in the midst of a $300 million addition – nicknamed "The Hospital of the Future," it is the largest construction project in New England.[57] In addition to Baystate, Springfield features two other nationally ranked hospitals; Mercy Medical, run by The Sisters of Providence, and Shriners Hospital for Children.

Springfield headquartered companies[edit]

  • The American Hockey League, the primary development league for the NHL.
  • Baystate Health – Largest employer and healthcare provider in Western Massachusetts; 3rd largest employer in Massachusetts, constructing the $300 million "Hospital of the Future."[57]
  • Big Y – a regional supermarket chain that was originally founded in nearby Chicopee, but is now headquartered in Springfield. Big Y operates more than 50 supermarkets throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • Breck Shampoo – Founded in Springfield in 1936.
  • Fenton's Athletic Supplies – Sporting goods provider founded in 1924.
  • Hampden Bank – Founded in Springfield in 1852. Headquartered in Springfield.
  • Health New England
  • Mutual Life Insurance Company – Founded in 1851. MassMutual is the second largest Fortune 100 company based in Massachusetts (2010 list). The corporate headquarters are on State Street.
  • Merriam-Webster – Publisher of the original Webster Dictionary[58]
  • NuVo Bank – Founded in 2008. Headquartered in Springfield.
  • Peter Pan Bus Lines – Headquartered in Metro Center, Peter Pan will move its headquarters to Union Station upon its renovation in 2013.
  • Smith & Wesson – Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson is America's largest producer of handguns. The company maintains its corporate headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue in East Springfield.

Springfield companies: suburban and past[edit]

  • Forbes & Wallace – Regional department store, closed in 1974
  • Friendly Ice Cream Corporation – Founded in Springfield, headquartered in the Springfield suburb of Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
  • Good Housekeeping Magazine – Founded in Springfield in 1885.
  • Goodyear Tires – Founded in Springfield in 1844
  • Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company – America's first motorcycle brand, was founded by George M. Hendee and C. Oscar Hedström in Springfield in 1901
  • Milton Bradley Company – American game company established in 1860. Headquartered in Springfield until its relocation to suburban East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
  • M-1 Rifle – productions started in 1919
  • Monarch Insurance – went bankrupt while constructing Springfield's tallest skyscraper, Monarch Place.
  • Rolls-Royce - Rolls-Royce of America Inc. was formed in 1919 to meet the growing U.S. luxury car market. A manufacturing plant was set up on Hendee Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the former 'American Wire Wheel Company' building. Over the years, the factory's 1,200 employees produced 1,703 Silver Ghosts and 1,241 Phantoms, with the first Silver Ghost chassis finished in 1921. The 1929 stock market crash lead to the plant's closure in 1931. The 1996 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Springfield Edition was made to commemorate Rolls-Royce of America's 75th anniversary.
  • Sheraton Hotels and Resorts – founded in Springfield in 1937 with the purchase of The Stonehaven Hotel, and later the famous Hotel Kimball.
  • Springfield Armory – Founded by George Washington in 1777; closed by the Pentagon in 1968.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 1,574
1800 2,312 46.9%
1810 2,767 19.7%
1820 3,914 41.5%
1830 6,784 73.3%
1840 10,985 61.9%
1850 11,766 7.1%
1860 15,199 29.2%
1870 26,703 75.7%
1880 33,340 24.9%
1890 44,179 32.5%
1900 62,059 40.5%
1910 88,926 43.3%
1920 129,614 45.8%
1930 149,900 15.7%
1940 149,554 −0.2%
1950 162,399 8.6%
1960 174,463 7.4%
1970 163,905 −6.1%
1980 152,319 −7.1%
1990 156,983 3.1%
2000 152,082 −3.1%
2010 153,060 0.6%
Est. 2013 153,703 0.4%
: * population estimate.
[59]
[60][61]

As of the 2010 Census, there were 153,060 people residing in the City of Springfield. This figure does not include many of the 17,000-plus undergraduate and graduate university students who reside in Springfield during the academic year.

According to the 2010 Census, there were 61,706 housing units in Springfield, of which 56,752 were occupied. This was the highest average of home occupancy among the four, distinct Western New England metropolises, (the other three being Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.) Also, as of 2010, Springfield features the highest average home owner occupancy ratio among the four Western New England metropolises at 50% – 73,232 Springfielders live in owner-occupied units, versus 74,111 in rental units. By comparison, as of the 2010 Census, New Haven features an owner occupancy rate of 31%; Hartford of 26%; and Bridgeport of 43%.[62]

According to the 2010 Census, Springfield had a population of 153,060, of which 72,573 (47.4%) were male and 80,487 (52.6%) were female. In terms of age, 73.0% were over 18 years old and 10.9% were over 65 years old; the median age is 32.2 years. The median age for males is 30.2 years and 34.1 years for females.

In terms of race and ethnicity, Springfield is 51.8% White, 22.3% Black or African American, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.4% Asian (1.2% Vietnamese), 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 18.0% from Some Other Race, and 4.7% from Two or More Races (1.5% White and Black or African American; 1.0% White and Some Other Race). Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 38.8% of the population (33.2% Puerto Rican).[63] Non-Hispanic Whites were 36.7% of the population in 2010,[64] down from 84.1% in 1970.[65]

Education[edit]

Universities and colleges[edit]

The Knowledge Corridor boasts the second-largest concentration of higher learning institutions in the United States, with 32 universities and liberal arts colleges and over 160,000 university students surrounding Hartford-Springfield. Within 16 miles (26 km) of Springfield's Metro Center, there are 18 universities and liberal arts colleges, which feature approximately 100,000 students.[66]

Within the City of Springfield itself are three highly regarded private universities, a program of one nationally prominent public university, and one regionally respected community college. As of 2011, Springfield attracts over 19,000 university students per year. Its universities are Western New England University, famous for its law and pharmacy programs; Springfield College, famous as the birthplace of the sport of basketball (1891) and the nation's first physical education class, (1912), which specializes in sports and sports medicine; American International College, founded to educate America's immigrant population, is notable as the inventor of the Model Congress program; UMass Amherst relocated its urban design center graduate program to Court Square in Metro Center, and has indicated that a larger commitment (probably in the soon-to-be renovated former hotel building on Court Square) is possible within the next year.[67] Also, Cambridge College Springfield Regional Center, an institution that caters to working adults, is located in Springfield.

Several of Greater Springfield's institutions rank among the most prestigious and well-financed in the world. For example, Amherst College, 15 miles (24 km) north of Springfield, consistently ranks as America's No. 1 liberal arts college. Smith College, 13 miles (21 km) north of Springfield, consistently ranks among America's top 10 liberal arts colleges. Mount Holyoke College – the United States' first women's college – consistently ranks among America's Top 15 colleges, and it is located only 9 miles (14 km) north of Springfield. Hampshire College, the creative and free-thinking university that has produced luminaries such as the documentarian Ken Burns and critically renowned author and mountain climber Jon Krakauer, is located only 14 miles (23 km) north of Springfield. The 30,000-student University of Massachusetts Amherst is located 16 miles (26 km) north of Springfield. Approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of Springfield, across the Memorial Bridge in Westfield, is Westfield State University, founded by noted education reformer Horace Mann. Westfield was the first university in America to admit students without regard to sex, race, or economic status.[68] Its current enrollment is approximately 6,000 students.

Just outside of Springfield's northern city limits is Elms College, a fine Catholic university that for many years educated only women. Now Elms College is co-educational. Likewise, just 2 miles (3.2 km) below Springfield's southern city limit in Longmeadow is the park-like campus of Bay Path College, which once also admitted only women. Within the past decade, Bay Path has eased its restriction and started to admit men to certain programs.

Community colleges[edit]

In 1968, following the Pentagon's controversial closing of the Springfield Armory, Springfielders founded Springfield Technical Community College on 35 acres (14.2 ha) behind the Springfield Armory National Park. Springfield Technical Community College is the only "technical" community college in Massachusetts, and was founded to continue Springfield's traditional of technical innovation.[69]

Holyoke Community College, 8 miles (13 km) north of Springfield, is Greater Springfield's more traditional community college.

Public schools (K–12)[edit]

Springfield has the second largest school district in Massachusetts and in New England. It operates 38 elementary schools, six high schools, six middle schools (6–8) and seven specialized schools. The main high schools in the city include the High School of Commerce, Springfield Central High School, Roger L Putnam Vocational-Technical High School, and the Springfield High School of Science and Technology, better known as Sci-Tech. There are also two charter secondary schools in the City of Springfield: SABIS International, which ranks among the top 5% of high schools nationally in academic quality, and the Hampden Charter School of Science. The city's School Committee[when?] passed a new neighborhood school program to improve schools and reduce the growing busing costs associated with the current plan. The plan faces stiff opposition from parents and minority groups who claim that the schools are still unequal. The city is required under a 1970s court order to balance schools racially, which had necessitated busing. However, since then, the city and the school's population has shifted and many of the neighborhoods are more integrated, calling into question the need for busing at all. Though the plan is likely to be challenged in court, the state Board of Education decided it did not have authority to review it, sidestepping the volatile issue while effectively condoning it.

Private elementary[edit]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield operated five Catholic elementary schools in the city, all of which were consolidated into a single entity, St. Michael's Academy, in the autumn of 2009.[70] The non-denominational Pioneer Valley Christian School is located in the suburban Sixteen Acres neighborhood, educating K–12. Non-sectarian elementary schools within the City of Springfield include the Pioneer Valley Montessori School in Springfield's Sixteen Acres neighborhood and Orchard Children's Corner in suburban Indian Orchard, a Pre-Kindergarten, among others.

Private secondary[edit]

The Diocese runs Cathedral High School, which is the largest Catholic high school in Western Massachusetts. A non-denominational Christian school, the Pioneer Valley Christian School, is located in the suburban Sixteen Acres neighborhood of the city.[71] Two nonsectarian private schools are also located in Springfield: Commonwealth Academy [72] located on the former campus of the MacDuffie School (which moved to Granby, Massachusetts in 2011 after 130 years in Springfield), and teaches grades four through twelve, soon to enroll students in grades K-12; and the Academy Hill School,[73] which teaches kindergarten through grade eight.

Within 15 miles (24 km) of Springfield are many private prep schools, which can serve as day schools for Springfield students; they include: the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts; Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; and Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut.

Library[edit]

Efforts to establish the Springfield Public Library began in the 1850s.[74][75] In fiscal year 2008, the city of Springfield spent 1.13% ($5,321,151) of its budget on its public library – some $35 per person.[76] In fiscal year 2009, Springfield spent about 1% ($5,077,158) of its budget on the library – some $32 per person.[77] Springfield has Massachusetts' 2nd largest library circulation, behind Boston.

As of 2012, the public library purchases access for its patrons to databases owned by the following companies:[78]

Fire Department[edit]

The city of Springfield is protected by the 264 paid, professional firefighters of the city of Springfield Fire Department.[79] The Springfield Fire Department was established in 1872[80] and is divided into nine Divisions of Operations: Administration, Alarm, Arson/Bomb Investigation, Fire Prevention and Inspection, Fire Repair, Operations, Public Education, Public Information, and the Training Division.[81] Each division is assigned a Deputy Chief. The SFD operates out of 7 Fire Stations, located throughout the city in 2 Districts. Each District is commanded by a District Chief per shift. The Springfield Fire Department also operates and maintains a fire apparatus fleet of 8 Engines, 4 Ladders, 1 Rescue, 1 Hazardous Materials(Haz-Mat.) Unit, 1 Arson Investigation/Bomb Squad Unit, 1 Fireboat, 1 Brush Unit, as well as numerous other special, support, and reserve units. The Springfield Fire Department responds to approximately 14,000 emergency calls annually. The current Fire Commissioner is Joseph A. Conant.[82]

Fire station locations and apparatus[edit]

Below is a complete listing of all fire station and apparatus locations in the city of Springfield. The Springfield Fire Department's Fire Alarm and Communications Dispatch Center is located at 1535 Roosevelt Ave. The department's Maintenance Facility is located at 1545 Roosevelt Ave.[83]

Engine Company Ladder Company Special Unit District Address
Engine 1 Ladder 1 605 Worthington St.
Engine 3 Ladder 3 District 2 382 White St.
Engine 5 Ladder 5 15 Odessa St.
Engine 8 Ladder 8 Rescue 1 33 Eastern Ave.
Engine 9 Haz-Mat. 1, Arson/Bomb Squad Unit District 1 1212 Carew St.
Engine 10 2729 Main St.
Engine 12 Brush 1 1265 Parker St.
Engine 16 14 Massreco Street

Closed or disbanded fire companies[edit]

The following fire companies have been shut down over the past ten years due to budget cuts:

  • Engine 2 - 14 Massreco St.(Quarters of Engine 16)
  • Engine 4 - Unknown
  • Engine 6 - Mill St. & Main St.
  • Engine 7 - 147 Taylor St.
  • Engine 11 - Unknown
  • Engine 13 - 157 Pine St.
  • Engine 14 - 1045 Sumner Ave.
  • Engine 15 - 883 Page Blvd.
  • Ladder 9 - 1212 Carew St.(Quarters of Engine 9, District 2) - Disbanded in 2012
  • Ladder 10 - 2729 Main St.(Quarters of Engine 10)
  • Ladder 12 - 1265 Parker St.(Quarters of Engine 12)

Water and sewer system[edit]

The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission (created in its current form in 1996) owns several reservoirs and aqueducts, as well as hydropower and sewage treatment stations. The city purchased the Springfield Aqueduct Company in 1872.[84]

Borden Brook Reservoir, located in the rural western Hampden County town of Blandford was completed in 1910. It feeds into the Cobble Mountain Reservoir (completed in 1931) located at the junction of the towns of Blandford, Granville and Russell. The Wild Cat Aqueduct carries water from the Cobble Mountain Reservoir to a hydroelectric generating station on the Granville-Russel border, at the Little River. Drinking water flows to the West Parish Water Filtration Plant in Westfield, and is then pumped to holding tanks at the top of Provin Mountain in Agawam.[85]

The 1875 Ludlow Reservoir, also known as Springfield Reservoir, is maintained as an emergency water supply; it is located in Ludlow and fed via the Broad Brook Canal.

SWSC provides retail water in Springfield and Ludlow; wholesale water to Agawam, East Longmeadow, and Longmeadow; partial or peak service to Southwick, Westfield, and West Springfield; and emergency service to Chicopee and Wilbraham.[85]

Culture[edit]

Six Flags New England sits on the Connecticut River across from Springfield's South End

Amusement parks and fairs[edit]

Within two miles (3 km) of Springfield are New England's largest and most popular amusement park, Six Flags New England, and its largest and most popular fair, The Big E. Six Flags New England, located across Springfield's South End Bridge in Agawam currently features 10 roller-coasters, including the No. 1 roller-coaster in the world since 2004, "Bizarro." Six Flags New England also features a large water park, kid's rides, and an outdoor concert stadium, among numerous other attractions. It opens in mid-April and closes at the end of October.

The Eastern States Exposition ("The Big E") is located across Springfield's Memorial Bridge in West Springfield. The Big E serves as the New England states' collective state fair. The Big E is currently the sixth largest agricultural fair in America and brings in thousands of tourists each September–October. The Big E features rides, carnival food, music, and replicas of each of the six New England state houses, each of which is owned by its respective New England state. During the Big E, these state houses serve as consulates for the six New England states, and also serve food for which the states are known.

Architecture[edit]

In addition to its nickname The City of Firsts, Springfield is known as The City of Homes for its attractive architecture, which differentiates it from most medium-size, Northeastern American cities. Most of Springfield's housing stock consists of Victorian "Painted Ladies" (similar to those found in San Francisco;) however, Springfield also features Gilded Age mansions, urban condominiums buildings, brick apartment blocks, and more suburban post-World War II architecture (in the Sixteen Acres and Pine Point neighborhoods). While Springfield's architecture is attractive, much of its built-environment stems from the 19th and early 20th centuries when the city experienced a period of "intense and concentrated prosperity" – today, its Victorian architecture can be found in various states of rehabilitation and disrepair. As of 2011, Springfield's housing prices are considerably lower than nearby New England cities that do not feature renowned residential architecture.

Unity Church (built 1866–1869), the first commission of noted architect H.H. Richardson, was demolished in 1961.

In Metro Center, some of Springfield's former hotels, factories, and other institutions have been converted into apartment buildings and luxury condominiums. For example, Springfield's ornate Classical High School (235 State Street), with its immense Victorian atrium – where Dr. Seuss, Timothy Leary, and Taj Mahal all went to high school – is now a luxury condominium building. The Hotel Kimball, (140 Chestnut Street), which hosted several U.S. Presidents as guests and once featured the United States' first commercial radio station (WBZ), has been converted into The Kimball Towers Condominiums.[86] The former McIntosh Shoe Company (158 Chestnut Street), one of Springfield's finest examples of the Chicago School of Architecture, has been converted into industrial-style condominiums; and the red-brick, former Milton Bradley toy factory is now Stockbridge Court Apartments (45 Willow Street). In the Ridgewood Historic District, the 1950s-futurist Mulberry House (101 Mulberry Street), is now a condominium building that features some of the finest views of Springfield.

Forest Park (and Forest Park Heights), surrounding Frederick Law Olmsted's beautiful 735 acres (297.4 ha) Forest Park, is a New England Garden District that features over 600 Victorian Painted Ladies. The McKnight National Historic District, America's first planned residential neighborhood, (1881), features over 900 Victorian Painted Ladies, many of which have been rehabilitated by Springfield's growing LGBT community. The Old Hill, Upper Hill, and Bay neighborhoods also feature this type of architecture.

Maple High, which is architecturally (and geographically) distinct from, but often included with Springfield's economically depressed Six Corners neighborhood, was Springfield's first "Gold Coast." Many mansions from the early 19th century and later gilded age stand atop a bluff on Maple Street, overlooking the Connecticut River. The Ridgewood Historic district on Ridgewood and Mulberry Streets also feature historic mansions from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Springfield – like many mid-size Northeastern cities, e.g., Hartford, Albany, and New Haven – from the 1950s–1970s, razed a significant number of historic commercial buildings in the name of urban renewal. In 1961, this included Unity Church, the first building designed by the young Henry Hobson Richardson.[87] Springfield's Metro Center remains more aesthetically cohesive than many its peer cities; however, as elsewhere, the city currently features a patchwork of parking-lots and grand old buildings. Current efforts are underway to improve the cohesion of Springfield's Metro Center, including the completed Main Street and State Street Corridor improvement projects, the upcoming $70 million renovation to Springfield's 1926 Union Station and the renovation of the Epiphany Tower on State Street into a new hotel. New constructions include the architecturally award-winning, $57 million Moshe Safdie-designed Federal Building on State Street.[88]

Festivals[edit]

  • Hoop City Jazz Festival: an annual event sponsored by the Springfield-headquartered Hampden Bank, which in the past has featured Springfield native and jazz legend Taj Mahal, the Average White Band, and others. In 2011 the Hoop City Jazz Festival will take place July 8–10 on Court Square, and will feature a jazz tribute to the City of New Orleans.
  • Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend: a week of events that culminates in the Basketball Hall of Fame's enshrinement ceremony. It features numerous VIP galas, awards dinners, and press conferences.[89] Enshrinement takes place in Springfield's Neo-Classical Symphony Hall on Court Square. In 2011, Enshrinement Weekend will take place August 11–13.
  • Armory Big Band Concerts: annually each summer the Springfield Armory National Park and National Historic Site features 1940s big band concerts. The band dresses in period costumes, and free dance lessons are provided. In 2011, an Armory Big Band Concert will be held on July 9.[90]
  • Springfield Gay Pride Week: Springfield celebrated its first gay pride event June 8–16, 2011. Events range from political roundtables, to film showings, to celebrations at local gay clubs. According to 2010 Census statistics, Springfield has experienced a dramatic rise in its LGBT population during the last decade, and this celebration is aimed at increasing the visibility and voice of the LGBT community and its allies.[91]
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society Festival: in Springfield's Italian South End, it is long-running tradition to celebrate Italian Feast Days, in particular during the summer. The largest of these festivals is the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society festival, which features a parade, and numerous food stands offering all sorts of Italian foods, e.g. fried dough, pasta with meatballs or sausages, sausage and peppers, meatball and steak grinders, and sugar cones, cotton candy, candy apples and gelato. The festival takes place each year in mid-July.
  • Stearns Square Concert Series and Bike Nights: annually from June through September on Thursday evenings from 7 to 10pm, Springfield sponsors free live music at Stearns Square, in the heart of Metro Center's Club Quarter. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of motorcyclists attend Bike Nights, which coincide with the Stearns Square Concerts.
  • Mattoon Street Arts Festival: one of the largest annual art festivals in Springfield. In 2011, it will feature a record number of exhibitors when it takes place from September 10–11, 2011 in the Mattoon Street Historic District. The art festival takes place at the corner of Mattoon and Chestnut Streets, near the Apremont Triangle and Kimball Towers Luxury Condominiums.[92]
  • Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival: each spring the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival presents two weeks of films, renowned guest speakers, and events related to Jewish culture. In 2011, the festival took place from March 23 – April 11.[93]
  • St. Patrick's Day Parade: 7 miles (11 km) north of Springfield's Metro Center, the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts stages the United States' 2nd-largest, annual St. Patrick's Day Parade (larger than Boston's and Chicago's, but slightly smaller than New York City's). In 2011, Holyoke's St. Patrick's Day Parade attracted over 400,000 revelers.[94]
  • World's Largest Pancake Breakfast: annually, near the city's founding date (May 14) Springfield attempts to break the Guinness Book of World Records' mark for largest number of pancakes served. 2011's event drew over 30,000 people to Main Street, where approximately 60,000 pancakes were served.[95]
  • Star Spangled Springfield: annually on July 4, Springfield stages an evening of patriotism, pageantry and pyrotechnics. The evening begins in Court Square with a patriotic concert by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and concludes with an elaborate fireworks display from the Memorial Bridge. Numerous hills and bluffs in Springfield afford views of the fireworks.
  • Caribbean Festival: in general held in late August each year, Springfield's Caribbean Festival celebrates the culture of the West Indies, which has increased greatly in Springfield during recent years. Highlights of the festival include a parade, dancers, floats, Caribbean music, and even a fashion show celebrating traditional Caribbean-dress.[96]
  • The Parade of Big Balloons: since 1991, the Parade of Big Balloons has helped to usher in the holiday season in Springfield. A 75-foot (23 m) inflatable "Cat in the Hat" and a dozen or more big balloons, bands, and colorful marching contingents parade through Springfield's Metro Center at 11 am on the day after Thanksgiving. The Parade of Big Balloons starts in the city's North End and make its way down Main Street to the South End, entertaining crowds estimated at 75,000. In general, this parade is broadcast by local TV and radio affiliates.
  • Bright Nights: during the holiday season, over 600,000 lights illuminate a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) driving tour of Frederick Law Olmsted's Forest Park. Since its inception in the 1990s, the event has become a national attraction. From the new “Poinsettia Fantasy” entry to the giant Poinsettia Candles marking the exit, passengers in cars, vans, buses and campers drive by and through lighting displays including "Seuss Land," a display approved by the estate of Dr. Seuss, "Spirit of the Season," "Noah's Ark," "Victorian Village," "Barney Mansion," "Winter Woods," "North Pole Village," "Toy Land," and "Season's Greetings."

Museums[edit]

Springfield is home to five distinct museums at The Quadrangle, along with the ornate Springfield Public Library – an architecturally significant example of the City Beautiful movement. The Quadrangle's five distinct collections include the first American-made planetarium, designed and built (1937) by Frank Korkosz; the Dr Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden; the largest collection of Chinese cloisonne outside of China; and the original casting of Augustus Saint Gaudens's most famous sculpture, Puritan.

The Quadrangle's five museums are the Museum of Fine Arts', which features a large Impressionist collection; the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, a collection of Asian curiosities; the Springfield Science Museum, which features a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex, and aquarium, and the United States' first planetarium; the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, which, as visitors find out, is inextricably linked with American History; and the Museum of Springfield History, a museum about the multi-faceted city.[97]

Springfield's Indian Orchard neighborhood is home to the RMS Titanic Historical Society's Titanic Museum. Unlike Springfield's urban Quadrangle museums, the setting for Indian Orchard's Titanic Museum looks like 1950s suburbia. Inside 208 Main Street, there is a small museum with an interesting collection about the ill-fated ocean liner. Rare artifacts tell stories about the Titanic's passengers and crew.[98]

Music[edit]

Classical music aficionados hold the progressive Springfield Symphony Orchestra in high esteem. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra performs in Springfield Symphony Hall, a venue known for its ornate, Greek Revival architecture and "perfect acoustics." The SSO's conductor is Kevin Rhodes.

Famous musicians from Springfield include blues legend Taj Mahal; the band Staind and its frontman Aaron Lewis; Linda Perry, former leader singer of 4 Non Blondes and now famous songwriter and producer; Taj Mahal's sister, Carole Fredericks, a soul singer very popular in France; numerous jazz musicians, including Joe Morello, drummer for the Dave Brubeck Quartet; Phil Woods, saxophonist for Quincy Jones; Tony MacAlpine, keyboardist and guitarist with Steve Vai; and Paul Weston, composer for Frank Sinatra, among many others.

In 2011, Springfield's music scene was eclectic. It featured a notable heavy rock scene, from which the bands Gaiah, Staind, All That Remains, Shadows Fall, and The Acacia Strain rose to national prominence. Jazz and blues rival rock in popularity. Each summer, the Springfield-headquartered Hampden Bank sponsors the annual Hoops City Jazz & Art Festival, a three-day event that draws approximately 30,000 people to Metro Center to hear varieties of different jazz music – from smooth jazz, to hard bop, to New Orleans-style jazz. Headliners have included Springfield great Taj Mahal, the Average White Band, and Poncho Sanchez.

Fifteen miles north in the college towns of Northampton and Amherst, there is an active independent and alternative rock scene. Many of these bands perform regularly in Springfield's Club Quarter, at venues such as Fat Cats Bar & Grille, Theodore's, and the restored Paramount Theater. In the Club Quarter, centered on Stearns Square, nightly offerings include blues, college rock, jazz, indie, hip-hop, jam band, Latin, hard rock, pop, metal, karaoke, piano bars and DJs.

Each Thursday during the summer, a free concert is held at Stearns Square to coincide with Bike Night, a happening that in general attracts thousands of motorcyclists to the Quarter and thousands more spectators to hear live music.

Larger rock and hip-hop acts play at the 7,000-seat MassMutual Center. The arena has played host to artists such as Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Nirvana, David Bowie, David Lee Roth, Poison, Pearl Jam, and Bob Dylan.

Newspapers[edit]

Springfield's largest local newspaper is The Republican. The Republican used to be the Springfield Union-News & Sunday Republican. Smaller papers such as The Reminder and the Valley Advocate also serve Greater Springfield.

Other newspapers serve specific communities of interest, such as Predvestnik, a Russian-language newspaper, El Pueblo Latino, serving the Hispanic community, Unity First serving the African-American community, and The Rainbow Times, which serves Springfield's LGBT community.

Nightlife[edit]

See also: Club Quarter

The City of Springfield' Club Quarter is the nightlife capital of the Pioneer Valley and the Knowledge Corridor, featuring approximately 60 dance clubs, bars, music venues, LGBT venues, and after-hours establishments. In general, most clubs, bars, music venues, and other nightspots are located on or near upper Worthington Street, on and around Stearns Square, or on Chestnut Street.

Springfield's Club Quarter features a large (and growing) LGBT nightlife scene at establishments like Oz (397 Dwight Street), Pure (324 Chestnut Street), The Pub Lounge (382 Dwight Street), and Club Xtatic (240 Chesnut Street, featuring dancers). In 2011, LGBT magazine The Advocate ranked Springfield No. 13 among its "New Gay American Cities," ahead of San Diego and Albuquerque, New Mexico. There has been a notable increase in Springfield's LGBT nightlife since Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004.

Sites[edit]

The Big E is New England's collective state fair. On the Avenue of the States, each of the six New England States owns its own plot of land and replica State House
  • Basketball Hall of Fame – housed in a $47 million structure designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, it is a shrine to the world's second most popular sport, basketball. Located in the city where basketball was invented, the facility – built beside the Connecticut River – spans 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) features numerous restaurants and the WMAS-FM studios. However, it is separated from Springfield's Metro Center by the 8-lane highway, Interstate 91.
  • The Big E – also known as The Eastern States Exposition, it is New England's collective, annual state fair. Held on a permanent fairgrounds approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Springfield's Metro Center, across the ornate Memorial Bridge in West Springfield, it attracts more than 1 million visitors per year during its 14–17 day run beginning in mid-September.
  • Bright Nights – during the holiday season, Forest Park hosts a nationally renowned, 2+ mile, state-of-the-art lighting extravaganza. Year over year, the numerous lighting displays become creative and elaborate.
  • City Stage – Springfield's best-known playhouse features off-Broadway productions, comedians, and children's programming.
  • Club Quarter – a grouping of 60 clubs, bars, and restaurants around Stearns Square, Worthington and Main Streets. Springfield's variety of nightclubs and entertainment is part of what makes it, according to Yahoo!, one of America's ten best cities for dating.[99] LGBT and dance clubs are integrated with hip-hop, rock, jazz, and blues clubs. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are particularly busy evenings.
  • Connecticut River Walk Park – a landscaped park that snakes along the Connecticut River, affording views of the Mount Tom Range, Mount Holyoke Range, and Springfield's skyline. However, this park is separated from Springfield by the badly designed, 8-lane Interstate 91 highway, which cuts through three Springfield riverfront neighborhoods, and thus presents a major obstacle to accessing this riverfront park. In 2010, the Urban Land Institute released a plan for Springfield's riverfront, which has given Springfielders cause for hope that Interstate 91 will either be moved or made more easily passable via new design features that would allow people to access the River Walk and the Basketball Hall of Fame.[100][101][102]
  • Court Square – a park, referred to as "Springfield's front door," it remains the city's only topographical constant since its founding in 1636. Located on Main Street and surrounded by ornate architecture, including the iconic Springfield Municipal Group, Court Square is the civic heart of Springfield. Until the 1960s, Court Square extended to the Connecticut River; however, as with Olmsted's Forest Park, its connection to the river was severed by the building of the Interstate 91 elevated highway.
  • Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden – amidst The Quadrangle, there are large, bronze statues of characters from Springfield native Dr. Seuss's books.
  • First Game of Basketball Sculpture – located directly on the site of the first game of basketball, this illuminated sculpture in Springfield's Mason Square commercial district has become a site of pilgrimage for basketball fans from around the world.
  • Forest Park – designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape designer of New York City's Central Park, Springfield's Forest Park is nearly the same size as Central Park at 735 acres (297.4 ha). It features the Zoo at Forest Park; the 31 acres (12.5 ha) Porter Lake; numerous playgrounds; a formal rose garden; 38 tennis courts; a skating arena; numerous basketball and bocce courts; lawn bowling fields; Victorian promenades and water gardens; tree groves; baseball diamonds; numerous statues; an aquatic park; and the Barney Carriage House, where many weddings take place.
  • King Phillip's Stockade – an historic, city park where in 1675, the Pocumtuc Indians – organized by Chief Metacomet, also known as King Phillip – initiated the Attack on Springfield during King Phillip's War. During the attack, approximately 75% of the city was burned.
  • MassMutual Center – formerly known as the Springfield Civic Center, this 8,000-seat arena and convention center received a $71 million renovation in 2003–2005. Located across from historic Court Square in Metro Center, the arena houses two professional sports franchises, the NBADL Springfield Armor and The American Hockey League Springfield Falcons. The venue also attracts big-name concert tours. In the past, it has hosted concerts by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Van Halen, Marilyn Manson, The Eagles, and Bob Dylan, among many others.
  • Mulberry Street – the street featuring the house that inspired Dr. Seuss's first children's book, the classic And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
  • The Puritan – a famous statue designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens depicting Deacon Samuel Chapin, an early settler of Springfield. "The Puritan" is perhaps St. Gaudens' most celebrated, outdoor sculpture. Originally located in Stearns Square, it has been located in Merrick Park beside The Quadrangle for over 100 years and become a symbol of Springfield.
  • The Quadrangle – a campus of five museums surrounding the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, is an extraordinary cultural grouping – especially considering Springfield's medium-size population and small land area. It includes the world-class Museum of Fine Arts, known for its Impressionist and Dutch Renaissance collections, as well as its extensive collection of American masters, including works by Springfielder James McNeill Whistler. The world-class Springfield Science Museum features the United States' first planetarium (built 1931), and a large dinosaur exhibit. The world-class George Walter Vincent Smith Museum is known worldwide for housing the largest collection of Chinese cloisonne outside of China; it also features exotic curiosities like Asian suits of armor, and a collection of marble busts. The Quadrangle also features two regional history museums: the Connecticut Valley Historical Society, which tells the story of "The Great River" and its people, and the new Museum of Springfield History, which showcases the innovations that make Springfield "The City of Progress" during the abolitionist period and Industrial Revolution, which includes the first American-English dictionary, the first gasoline-powered car, the first successful motorcycle copmpany, the first modern fire engine, and dozens of other firsts (see below for a more complete list).
  • St. John's Congregational Church – founded in 1844 as the Sanford Street "Free Church," St. John's Congregational Church is a predominately black church that played a pivotal role in the abolitionist movement. While living in Springfield, John Brown attended services here from 1846 to 1850, and as of 2011, the church still displays John Brown's Bible. It was at this church where John Brown met Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and other prominent abolitionists – and where he later founded the famous, militant League of Gileadites in response to the Fugitive Slave Act. As of 2011, St. John's remains one of the most prominent, predominately black congregations in the Northeastern United States.[103]
  • St. Michael's Cathedral – beside The Quadrangle, this elegant Catholic Church is the seat of the Diocese of Greater Springfield.
  • Stacy Building – the location where, in 1892–93, the Duryea Brothers built the first, American, gasoline-powered car, which in 1895 won the first automobile race in Chicago, Illinois. A model of the Duryea Brothers' first car sits in a tree-shaded park beside the historic location, amidst the restaurants and bars of the Club Quarter.
  • Six Flags New England – located 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Springfield's South End in Agawam, this is the largest amusement park in the Northeast. It features an extensive water park and ten roller-coasters, including the No. 1 ranked roller-coaster in the world for the past decade, Bizarro. In 2011, it debuted another roller-coaster, the Gotham City Gauntlet: Escape from Arkham Asylum.
  • The Springfield Armory National Park – founded by General George Washington and Henry Knox in 1777; the site of Shays' Rebellion in 1787, which led directly to the U.S. Constitutional Convention; the site of numerous technological innovations including the manufacturing advances known as interchangeable parts, the assembly line, and mass production; and the producer of the United States Military's firearms from 1794 to 1968, when the Armory was controversially shut down by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Today, it is a National Park, National Historic Site, and features a museum that includes one of the world's largest collections of firearms.[104]
  • Symphony Hall – dedicated in 1913 by President William Howard Taft as part of the Springfield Municipal Group, Springfield Symphony Hall features "perfect acoustics." It is home to the progressive Springfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by showman Kevin Rhodes, and also hosts numerous Broadway touring productions.
  • Stearns Square – designed by the renowned artistic team of Stanford White and Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1897, this small park is the center of Springfield's Club Quarter.[105] It features ornate architectural and sculptural details from the original team's design; however, most of those were meant to accompany The Puritan, and thus moved to storage. Stearns Square hosts a large motorcycle gathering each Thursday evening, and is the site of a summer concert series.

Sports[edit]

Besides Springfield's historic connection with basketball, the city has a rich sporting history. Volleyball was invented in the adjacent city of Holyoke, and the first exhibition match was held in 1896 at the International YMCA Training School, now known as Springfield College.

The MassMutual Center in 2013

Ice hockey has been played professionally in Springfield since the 1920s, and Springfield is home to the league headquarters of the American Hockey League. The Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League (now located in Peoria, Illinois) was the oldest minor league hockey franchise in existence. In 1994 the team relocated to Worcester and was replaced by the current Springfield Falcons, who play at the MassMutual Center. For parts of two seasons (1978–80) the NHL Hartford Whalers played in Springfield while their arena was undergoing repairs after a roof collapse. On the amateur level, the Junior A Springfield Olympics played for many years at the Olympia, while American International College's Yellow Jackets compete in NCAA Division I hockey.

Basketball remains the most popular sport in Springfield's sporting landscape. Springfield is home to the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League, which began play in 2009 at the MassMutual Center. As of the 2011–2012 season, the Armor is now the exclusive affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.[106] For many years, the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic has been the semi-official start to the college basketball season, and the NCAA Division II championships are usually held in Springfield. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will play its championships in Springfield from 2012 to 2014.[107] The New England Blizzard of the ABL played its first game in Springfield, and several minor pro men's and women's teams have called the city home, including the Springfield Fame of the United States Basketball League (the league's inaugural champion in 1985) and the Springfield Hall of Famers of the Eastern Professional Basketball League.

Springfield has had professional baseball in the past, and according to its current mayor, remains intent on pursuing it in the future.[108] The Springfield Giants of the Single– and Double-A Eastern League played between 1957 and 1965. The team was quite successful, winning consecutive championships in 1959, 1960 and 1961, by startling coincidence the same seasons in which the Springfield Indians won three straight Calder Cup championships in hockey. The Giants played at Pynchon Park by the Connecticut River until relocating after the 1965 season. Pynchon Park's grandstands were destroyed by fire the year after in 1966.[109] Before that time, the Springfield Cubs played in the minor league New England League from 1946 until 1949, after which the league folded; they then played in the International League until 1953. For many years before the Giants, Springfield was also a member of the Eastern League, between 1893 and 1943. In general, the team was named the Ponies, but it also carried the nicknames of "Maroons" (1895), "Green Sox" (1917), "Hampdens" (1920–21), "Rifles (1932, 1942–43) and "Nationals" (1939–41). The team located closest are the Valley Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League who play their games in nearby Holyoke, but house their team offices at 100 Congress Street in Springfield.

Springfield has an official roller derby team: Pair O Dice City Roller Derby. They are a non-profit organization who uses their roller derby games as fundraisers for groups such as Dakin Animal Shelter and the Shriners. Pair O Dice skaters are featured on the Clean Up ads near the waterfront.

Parks[edit]

Forest Park - one of the largest urban parks in the United States - designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

In 2010, Springfield was cited as the 4th "Greenest City" in the United States – the largest city cited in the Top 10. The recognition noted Springfield's numerous parks, the purity of its drinking water, its regional recycling center, and organizations like ReStore Home Improvement Center, which salvages building materials.[110] Springfield features over 2,400 acres (10 km2) of parkland distributed among 35 urban parks, including the grand, 735 acres (297.4 ha) Forest Park. Well-known parks include the following, among others:

  • Apremont Triangle Park is a triangular, pocket park in front of Springfield's historic Kimball Towers in Metro Center. Named for Springfield's 104th Infantry Regiment, which following the World War I Battle of Apremont, became the first U.S. military unit awarded for heroism by a foreign power, receiving France's highest military honor: the croix de guerre for bravery in combat. The same Springfield unit received the same honor again in World War II. Apremont Triangle Park, steps from both the bohemian Kimball Towers and upper-class Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District offers a place to sit amidst the restaurants on the northern fringe of the Club Quarter.[111]
  • Armoury Commons is a rectangular park just south of the Springfield Armory, located at the corner of Pearl and Spring Streets in Metro Center. Renovated in 2009, Armoury Commons features several sculptures, including Pynchon Park's original sculpture. The park is often used as a place to play chess and other games.
  • Connecticut River Walk Park is a narrow, landscaped park that snakes along the scenic Connecticut River for several miles. Beginning near the Basketball Hall of Fame, it features jogging trails, benches, boat docks, and plazas – all of which afford scenic vistas of the Connecticut River and Connecticut River Valley. However, Interstate 91's position, height, and ancillary structures – including a 1756-car, below-grade parking lot, (the largest in the city, ) and 20-foot (6 m) stone walls block all views of the Connecticut River, and all but three passages to the park from Metro Center. Despite Springfield's rating as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., due to the poor planning of I-91, this park can be difficult to reach on foot.[112]
  • Court Square has been Springfield's one topographical constant since colonial days – it is located in Metro Center. Featuring monuments to Springfield's hero during King Phillip's War of 1675, Miles Morgan; President William McKinley; and a Civil War memorial Court Square is surrounded by extraordinarily fine architecture, including H.H. Richardson's Richardsonian Romanesque Courthouse; the Springfield Municipal Group featuring the Greek Revival City Hall, Symphony Hall, and the 300-foot (91 m) Italianate Campanile; and also the 1819 reconstruction of the 1638 Old First Church. Other buildings included are the One Financial Plaza skyscraper, UMass Amherst's Urban Design Studio in the Byers Block (b. 1835;) and, across Main Street, the MassMutual Center arena and convention center.
  • Five Mile Pond is a Naturalist park and pond approximately 5 miles (8 km) from Springfield's Metro Center in the Pine Point neighborhood of Springfield. There are several, glacial lakes in the Five Mile Pond area, including Lake Lorraine, Loon Pond, and Long Pond. Five Mile Pond is popular with boaters.
  • Forest Park is one of the United States' largest urban parks (at 735 acres (297.4 ha)) and also one of its most historically important urban parks. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – the famed designer of New York City's Central Park – Forest Park is nearly as large, and similarly diverse. Amenities include the Zoo at Forest Park, which features many exotic animals; the United States' first public swimming pool (1899;) numerous playgrounds; an ice-skating rink; a formal rose garden; the 31 acres (12.5 ha) Porter Lake, which features fishing and paddle-boating; 38 tennis courts; numerous basketball and bocce courts; lawn bowling fields; Victorian promenades and water gardens; dozens of hiking and walking trails; an aquatic park; numerous sculptures; and the Carriage House of Springfielder Everett Hosmer Barney, the man who invented the ice skate and popularized the roller skate during the 19th century. During the holiday season, Forest Park hosts the nationally renowned lighting display, "Bright Nights."
  • King Phillip's Stockade is an historic park, famous as the site where Native Americans organized the 1675 Sack of Springfield; The Stockade features numerous picnic pavilions, excellent views of the Connecticut River Valley, and a sculpture of The Windsor Indian, who tried in vain to warn the residents of Springfield of coming danger.[113]
  • Leonardo da Vinci Park is a small greenspace (0.4 acres), located in the historically Italian South End of Springfield. It features ornamental perimeter fencing surrounding a playground. Leonardo da Vinci Park was renovated in 2009 and now features new picnic tables and playground equipment.
  • Pynchon Park is an architecturally interesting brutalist-style city park, which was dedicated in 1977. It links Springfield's Metro Center with The Quadrangle cultural grouping, (the museums and sculptures sit atop a steep bluff). Mostly made of poured concrete, but featuring a waterfall, lush greenery, and fountains, Pynchon Park received numerous accolades from the American Institute of Architecture for “enhancing the quality of the urban environment in the core of the city.” It features two levels and a distinctive elevator.[108]
  • Stearns Square is a rectangular park between Worthington Street and Bridge Street in Springfield's Club Quarter, located in Metro Center. Designed by the creative 'dream-team' of Stanford White and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It was there that St. Gaudens' most famous work, The Puritan, originally stood. The Puritan has since been moved to The Quadrangle, at the corner of State and Chestnut Streets; however, White's and St. Gaudens' original fountain, bench, and turtle sculptures, all meant to compliment The Puritan, remain in Stearns Square.
  • Van Horn Park is a large park in the Hungry Hill section of Liberty Heights in Springfield. It features two ponds and a reservoir. The Reservoir and lower dam are not generally accessible to the public. The Main Entrance is on Armory Street near Chapin Terrace.

Media and communication[edit]

Social media[edit]

Springfield's Office of the Mayor publishes current events and initiatives relevant to the City of Springfield: Facebook Twitter City's web page Springfield, MA

Television[edit]

Springfield has a long history of broadcast television, including two of the oldest UHF television stations on the air today.

Channel Call Sign Network Owner
3 WSHM-LD CBS Meredith Corporation
22 WWLP NBC LIN TV
28 WFXQ-CD NBC++ LIN TV
34 WTXX-LP Independent Independent owner*
40 WGGB ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV Gormally Broadcasting
43 WHTX-LP Univision Entravision Communications
57 WGBY PBS WGBH Educational Foundation

++WFXQ-CD rebroadcasts WWLP.

  • WWLP, UHF 22 (Digital 11). WWLP is the NBC affiliate for the area. While WWLP is licensed to Springfield, they moved their studios to nearby Chicopee from their old studios atop Provin Mountain. WWLP is the oldest TV station to air regularly scheduled programming in the market, launching its schedule on March 17, 1953, on Channel 61. WWLP also operated WRLP (UHF 32), a UHF station licensed to Greenfield, whose transmitter was in Winchester, New Hampshire as well as W69AQ (UHF 69), a low power station that transmitted from the WWLP tower on Provin Mountain. WWLP remains the only full-power station in the market with an analog television signal on the air.
  • WGGB, UHF 40 (Digital 40). WGGB is the ABC and primary Fox, secondary MyNetworkTV affiliate for the area. WGGB's studios are on Liberty Street near the Chicopee line. WGGB (originally WHYN) signed on on April 1, 1953 on Channel 55. In 1958, WHYN switched to UHF 40. Guy Gannett Broadcasting bought the station in 1979 and changed its call sign to the current WGGB-TV effective at the start of the following year. In 2008, WGGB launched a secondary service called "Fox 6", named after its channel position on the local Comcast cable TV lineup. FOX6 also appears on WGGB's DTV sub-channel 40.2. WGGB is the only locally owned station, owned by businessman John G. Gormally. WGGB's analog television signal signed off permanently in late November 2008, due to a transmitter failure.
  • WGBY, UHF 57 (Digital 58 until April 18, 2009, Digital 22 thereafter). WGBY is the PBS affiliate for the area. WGBY's studios are in downtown Springfield, near Interstate 91 and the Conrail train lines. WGBY signed on in 1963. WGBY is owned by Boston-based WGBH. WGBY signed off their analog signal permanently in November 2008, to allow for the replacement of transmission antennas.
  • WSHM-LD, UHF 67 (to be Digital 21/WSHM-LD), WSHM is owned and operated by Meridith Broadcasting. WSHM is Springfield's CBS affiliate operated by Hartford's WFSB. WSHM has studios in the Monarch Tower in downtown Springfield. WSHM-LD does local newscasts, including a 10 pm news on cable and online. They are the original 10 pm newscast in the Springfield market. WSHM is the former W67DF, a low-power station run by Trinity Broadcasting. WSHM is referred to as "CBS 3", denoting its cable channel assignment within the market and it is a way to have long-time viewers of WFSB stay with WSHM.

Springfield does not have its own CW affiliate. Instead CW is carried on the two local cable operators via a closed circuit satellite feed.

Cable operators[edit]

Springfield proper is serviced exclusively by Comcast cable. Springfield had a unique "dual plant" cable system from 1980 until 2001. All homes wired for cable had two cable drops run into their house.

Radio[edit]

Springfield was home to the first commercially licensed radio station in the United States, and the oldest radio station of any kind in New England: WBZ, which broadcast live from Springfield's luxurious Hotel Kimball at 140 Chestnut Street, (now the Kimball Towers Condominiums) before moving to Boston in 1931.[114]

Callsign Frequency City/town Network affiliation / owner Format
WFCR 88.5 FM Springfield[115] University of Massachusetts Amherst Public Radio
WSKB 89.5 FM Westfield Westfield State College College Radio
WSCB 89.9 FM Springfield Springfield College College Radio
WTCC 90.7 FM Springfield Springfield Technical Community College Public Radio
WAIC 91.9 FM Springfield American International College College Radio
WHYN-FM 93.1 FM Springfield Clear Channel Communications Hot Adult Contemporary (Top 40 on HD2)
WMAS-FM 94.7 FM Springfield Citadel Broadcasting Corporation Adult contemporary (Country on HD2)
WLZX 99.3 FM Northampton/Springfield Saga Communications of New England "Everything That Rocks"
WLCQ-LP 99.7 FM Feeding Hills Lighthouse Christian Center Christian Rock/Pop Music, "The Q"
WRNX 100.9 FM Amherst/Springfield Clear Channel Communications Country
WAQY 102.1 FM Springfield Saga Communications of New England Classic rock
WCCH 103.5 FM Holyoke Holyoke Community College College Radio
WNEK-FM 105.1 FM Springfield Western New England University College Radio
WWEI 105.5 FM Easthampton/Springfield Entercom Communications Sports Talk (simulcast of WEEI-AM in Boston)
WEIB 106.3 FM Northampton/Springfield Cutting Edge Broadcasting Smooth Jazz
WHYN 560 AM Springfield Clear Channel Communications News/Talk
WNNZ 640 AM Westfield Clear Channel Communications Public Radio (programmed by WFCR)
WACE 730 AM Chicopee Carter Broadcasting Corporation Religious
WARE 1250 AM Ware Success Signal Broadcasting Oldies
WSPR 1270 AM Springfield Davidson Media Group Spanish
WHLL 1450 AM Springfield Citadel Broadcasting Corporation Sports radio (ESPN Radio affiliate)
WACM 1490 AM Springfield Davidson Media Group Spanish

Transportation[edit]

The Memorial Bridge across the Connecticut to Springfield's Metro Center neighborhood
Bradley International Airport, 12 miles south of Springfield.

Ground[edit]

Springfield is called the Crossroads of New England because it is the major shipping nexus from New York City, Boston, Montreal and the Great Lakes (via Albany, New York). Much of the cargo heading from one of these places to another crosses through the City of Springfield. As a geographical trade center, Springfield has more advantages than just being equidistant to these other large trade centers – it sits beside the Connecticut River, on some of the most fertile farmland in the Northeast, served by numerous rails and Interstate Highways, including I-90 (Mass Pike) and I-91, which connect New Haven, Hartford, Holyoke, Northampton, and Vermont to Springfield. One of the few spurs of I-91 in Massachusetts, I-291, runs through Springfield, and provides a secondary connection between I-90 and I-91. (There is an unnumbered connector in West Springfield).

Rail[edit]

Springfield has an Amtrak station served by trains destined for New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Vermont, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Montreal, Albany, New York, Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago. Currently, Amtrak operates out of a self-built platform following the 1973 close of Springfield's grand 1926 Union Station. In 2011, Springfield's Union Station will receive a $70 million renovation, becoming an "intermodal transportation facility," allowing Peter Pan Bus, Greyhound Bus, and the PVTA to occupy a modernist space next door the re-built, 1926 Union Station.[116] The renovated Union Station will serve as a nexus for Amtrak's re-tooled Vermonter, which in 2014, will begin to follow the tracks of the more direct, former Montrealer route. This will allow Springfield to become the hub of an intercity commuter line headed north, with two stops in Springfield, 2 stops in Chicopee, one (or perhaps two) stops in Holyoke, and one stop each in Northampton, South Deerfield, Greenfield, and Brattleboro, Vermont.[117][118]

In addition to Springfield's intercity commuter rail line headed north, Springfield also stands to benefit from a high-speed intercity commuter/freight rail from the south. The New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail Line has received complete funding from Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and of April 2010, is nearing complete funding from the Federal Government and the State of Connecticut. The trains on The Knowledge Corridor Route between New Haven and Springfield will, it has been reported, reach speeds of 110 mph (177 km/h). The project is scheduled to begin in 2012 and be completed by 2015.

Springfield-area freight yards stand to profit tremendously from the city's increased rail traffic. There are no major freight yards in Springfield proper, but CSOR and CSX serve the West Springfield Yard across the Connecticut River.

Bus[edit]

Local transit buses running into and out of the city use a facility owned and operated by Peter Pan Bus Lines, which is headquartered in Springfield at the corner of Main and Liberty Streets, next to the Gothic arch that denotes entrance into Metro Center Springfield. As of 2011, Peter Pan's Bus Terminal is need of a major aesthetic overhaul – the opportunity for Peter Pan, Greyhound, and the PVTA to move across the street to Springfield's Unions Station intermodal facility should render the point moot.[119] Plans call for a bus station to be built on the plot adjacent to Union Station – the site of the former Hotel Charles – with a 23-bay bus terminal on lower levels and a 400-space public parking lot on upper levels.

Currently, the PVTA, headquartered at the dilapidated Peter Pan Terminal, provides services to the cities of Springfield, Chicopee, West Springfield, Westfield, and Holyoke. In September 2010, the City of Holyoke opened a new state-of-the-art bus station across the street from its centrally located Veterans Park. That bus station acts as the PVTA's main point of transfer between Hampden County in the south, and Hampshire county in the north.

Air[edit]

Other airports serving the Springfield include:

Sister city[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Abolitionist John Brown in Springfield in 1846
Dr. Seuss, Springfield author and illustrator
Springfield LSD activist Timothy Leary sitting amidst Allen Ginsberg and Dr. Lilly.
James McNeil Whistler, famous American painter, grew up in Springfield.

Notable musical artists[edit]

Taj Mahal, native Springfield musician

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Official records for Hartford kept at downtown from January 1905 to December 1948, Brainard Airport from January 1949 to December 1954, and at Bradley Int'l in Windsor Locks since January 1955.[28]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°06′45″N 72°32′51″W / 42.112411°N 72.547455°W / 42.112411; -72.547455