Welcome to Springfield, Vermont

Dear Visitor,

We extend our warmest greetings and welcome you to Springfield, Vermont.

Springfield has a proud history of welcoming new people from all over the country and the entire world. They come to visit, work and settle in this beautiful valley with an exceptional quality of life.

Springfield relishes in its contributions toward state and federal government leadership, machine tool inventions, design and precision products, computer technology advancement, as well as numerous diversified new industries. This is all supported by a growing local retail market. From statesmen and governors to workers and farmers, Springfield has one and all!

We are located in the southeastern part of Vermont where the Connecticut and Black Rivers join just off Interstate 91. Our community has full-time fire, police and public works departments. We also have an excellent school system with a district trades program, superb hospital and medical staff and one of the state's best airports.

What more could we ask for, but you! Our future is your future. Come join us. We're on the move!

Sincerely,
The People of Springfield, Vermont





A Special Place

Springfield, a modern, progressive town, is located a stone's throw from Interstate 91 (Exit 7), at the junction of State Highways 5, 11 and 106. Clapboard houses, stippled churches and historic brick buildings spread out from downtown in this charming New England village. In this tranquil community along the Black River, each of nature's seasons excites the senses. In spring, flowering trees - crab apple, lilac and apple - perfume the air; summer's mountain warmth brushes the cheek; fall's brilliant foliage fills the eye while the sweet taste of maple sugar is spring's special taste.

Camping, fishing, bicycling, boating, swimming, golf and tennis are but a few of the area's warm weather activities. During the winter, skiers flock to ten major alpine ski resorts located within forty miles and enjoy miles of snowmobile and cross- country ski trails.

Founded in 1752 and chartered in 1761 with a grant from Governor Wentworth of the Province of New Hampshire, settlement of Springfield began in earnest shortly before the American Revolution. During the 19th century, many machine tool companies and manufacturers located along the banks of the Black River to take advantage of its hydroelectric potential at the point where it falls a total of 110 feet in an eighth of a mile.

The Polish and Russian immigrants who arrived at the turn of the century to work in the mills added to the ethnic and cultural heritage of the town. In the first half of the 20th century, Springfield witnessed an extraordinary period of inventiveness as parent companies spawned and encouraged others. Soon the name "Precision Valley" was applied to Springfield.

Springfield's most famous inventor was James Hartness who held 120 different patents ranging from turret lathes to a safety razor, sundials and telescopes. By the 20th century, Springfield was known worldwide for many other inventions: the common clothespin, breech-loading gun, steam shovel, corn planter, sheep shearing machine and mop wringer. Other inventions included gear grinding and shaping machines and other machine tools sold extensively in the United States and shipped to over seventy countries around the world.

Rural traditions and pastoral landscapes are cherished here in a state which has a billboard-free highway system and programs to reduce roadside litter. Springfield, with a population of just under 10,000, is the largest town in Windsor County. Springfield boasts an excellent educational system, superior health care facilities and numerous cultural opportunities. In short, Springfield is both a quiet refuge and an exciting town with every amenity. In addition, Dartmouth College is only forty miles away; Boston just two and a halt hours and New York only four and a half. Cultural and other fun is easily accessible.

Welcome to Springfield, whether you're here for a weekend, a vacation or a lifetime. As a place to play, enjoy life and prosper, Springfield ain't bad at all.





History


The Town of Springfield, Vermont, was granted a charter in 1761 by Benning Wentworth, then governor of the Province of New Hampshire. Located in the Connecticut River Valley near the junction of the Black River, Springfield attracts many tourists, sports enthusiasts and permanent homeseekers.

The town's original acreage of above 25,000 acres was divided into sixty-eight equal shares. Every grantee was obliged to cultivate five acres of land within five years for every fifty acres owned. Within the township, no white or pine tree fit for a ship's mast could be felled without a special license, the penalty being forfeiture of the grant. All such trees were reserved for the ships and masts of the Royal Navy.

Prior to the charter of Springfield, a settlement had grown up in Eureka, just north of the present town. However, as no water power was available in that district, people began to move down from the hills around 1790 to settle on what is now called, "The Common." The falls of the Black River, now in the center of town, were a great attraction. The Indians called them "Comtu," meaning great noise, and traveled long distances to see the water pour over the rocks.

Springfield's earliest industry was a sawmill built in 1774. By 1890, the Town of Springfield had a population of 2,032 persons. Vermont's oldest schoolhouse (Eureka) was built here in 1785 and was used continuously until 1900. It has been authentically reconstructed on Routes 11 and 106 and is an Official Historical Site.

For more on the history of Springfield, return to the homepage and click on "History".





Recreation

Antiquing
As one might expect from the area's manufacturing history, dolls, doll accessories and toys are the primary items found in antique shops in the Springfield area. In addition, diligent shoppers will find bargains in formal and country furniture, lamps, glass, china and other collectibles.
Bicycling
Cyclists experience a special pleasure along Vermont's scenic highways and side roads. Spring, summer or The scenery is gorgeous spring summer and fall. In addition to individual rides, a number of major bicycle tours are routed through Springfield and housed at local area inns. The Toonerville Trail is a bike trail starting near the Connecticut River and extends into downtown.
Bowling
The Plaza Bowl bowling alley is conveniently located in the Springfield Shopping Plaza.
Camping
Lewis YMCA Day Camp is a licensed daycare center that offers eight full weeks of summer fun for area children. Each two week session offers a unique theme, educational field trip and overnight. Daily activities at camp includes sports, nature crafts, swimming lessons and archery. Camp Lewis is located at Bryant Recreation Area in Springfield. Information is available from Meeting Waters YMCA, (802) 463-4769, #66 Atlzinson Street, Bellows Falls, VT 05101.

Two campgrounds are located in the Springfield area, Crown Point Camping Area (on Stoughton Pond in Perkinsville) and Tree Farm Campground in Springfield. If you wish to camp on private land, you should obtain permission in advance from the landowner. Vermont law requires permission before building a campfire on private land between April 1 and November 1.


Edgar May Health and Recreation Center
Overlooks the Black River and offers 12 pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment and a variety of free and fixed weight machines. A six lane Olympic-size lap pool and a wading pool too. Swimming Lessons available for both children and adults as well as Lifeguarding Certification Courses. A small therapy pool kept heated to a comfortable 92 degrees F. Child Activities room.

Fishing
Dominated by the Connecticut River and its tributaries - the Black and Williams Rivers - the Springfield area provides superb fishing. A license is required to fish in Vermont. Licenses are sold at any town or city clerk's offices and some stores that carry fishing supplies.
Golfing
Polling terrain, abundant rainfall and moderate summer temperatures combine to make Vermont's golf courses challenging, lush and enjoyable throughout the season. The Crown Point Country Club offers some of the finest championship 18-hole golfing anywhere. Statewide and regional tournaments, including the Men's New England Amateur Tournament, are held at Crown Point Country Club.

Hiking
Overlooking North Springfield Lake, Springweather Nature Area's fifty-five acres include fields, shallow lakes, forest, brooks, flood plains and a nature trail developed by the Ascutney Mt. Audubon Society in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers. Springweather is open to the public for use in environmental learning.

The Crown Point Road, twenty feet wide and seventy-seven and a half miles long, was carved out of the wilderness in 1759 by 200 rangers under the command of Captain Stark. Originally known as the "Indian Road," it begins at Fort Number 4 on the Connecticut River and continues to Lake Champlain. The southeastern part of this route which passes through Plymouth, Ludlow, Cavendish, Weathersfield and Springfield is well marked and frequently used as a hiking trail.

Several trails crisscross Mt. Ascutney, the first American mountain to have a proper hiking trail (1825). Two footpaths lead hikers to the 3150-foot summit. The Brownsville Trail starts from Route 44 and the Windsor Trail from Back Mountain Road. Summer hikers can also climb many ski trails.

Two major hiking trails run along the spine of the Green Mountains. The Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail run from Vermont's southern border to the Sherburne Pass where the Appalachian Trail turns east and the Long Trail continues north, following the heights of the Green Mountain range to the Canadian border. Access to these trails can be found along spur trails or where they intersect highways and roads. Shelters are available at intervals along these trails.

Hunting
Excellent upland game hunting is available in Vermont. North of Springfield, in the Cavendish and Perkinsville area, Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area boasts tracts of open land available for public hunting as well as general recreation compatible with wildlife management. Be sure to get the landowner's permission before you hunt on private land. Strict laws apply to both camping and driving on public and private land.
Parks and Ballfields
The Springfield Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services Department operates a year-round recreation program. Children and adults participate in soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, hockey, karate, and gymnastics. Hundreds of people cool off in the town's swimming pool at ten-acre Riverside Park during the summer months; swimming lessons are well attended. Roller and ice skating are offered in winter. Many recreational activities take place in Springfield's parks: Hartness (off Woodbury Road), Riverside (near the junior high school), the Common (up the hill from downtown Springfield), Freedom Park (near the high school), North Springfield Recreation Park or various schools. Riverside Park boasts public baseball and softball diamonds.

Perched on a forested ridge high above Springfield, Hartness Park is 85 acres of unspoiled land owned by the Town of Springfield with some nice walking trails. Several work projects sponsored by donations from many organizations and individuals have helped to open up areas of the park for public use.

Area youth can play basketball, football and Little League baseball at the junior high school. A public swimming pool and summer weekend band concerts are available on the same campus. State-of-the-art and lighted for night play, the softball field is certified for state competitions.

Located in the Community House and operated by volunteers, the Senior Citizens Center provides numerous activities for the over fifty set. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the young at heart enjoy day trips, cribbage, shuffleboard, pool, ceramics, contract bridge and parties. Health clinics are also offered at the center whose expenses are partially paid for from funds contributed and earned by the seniors themselves. The Community House is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. A gym, bowling alleys and pool tables are available to all Springfield residents.

Sugaring
In late winter and early spring, usually mid-March to mid-April, but sometimes as early as the first of February, when the night temperatures are about twenty degrees Fahrenheit, rising to forty-five degrees during the day, maple trees are tapped. The watery sap is collected either in buckets hung over the spigots or in tubing which runs from tree to tree. The sap is taken to the sugar house where much of the water is extracted under pressure, a process known as reverse osmosis. Then the sap is boiled over a wood or oil fire until it becomes thick. It takes some forty gallons of sap to produce one gallon of sweet maple syrup.
Tennis
Tennis courts are available in Springfield and at Riverside Junior High School and Freedom Park.
Winter Recreation
Within a relatively small geographic area, Vermont has thirty alpine ski areas, by far the greatest concentration of skiing facilities in the United States. Some twelve ski slopes are located conveniently to Springfield. State-of-the-art snowmaking and trail grooming provide consistent skiing conditions. The ski season traditionally begins around Thanksgiving.

Cross-country skiing can be enjoyed at the Crown Point Country Club as well as on public lands. Skiers should always ask permission before crossing private land.

Snowmobilers will find some of the best snowmobiling in New England on a network of trails crisscrossing the state. These trails have been built and maintained through the cooperative efforts of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers and community snowmobiling clubs. The province of Quebec and states of New York, Maine and New Hampshire have registration reciprocity with Vermont. Residents of other states must register a snowmobile, apply to VAST, PO. Box 839, Montpelier, VT 05602 (802-229-0005)

Ice skaters will find that skating rinks and warming huts at the Common and at North Springfield Recreation Park are bustling with activity during the winter.


For more on this subject, return to the homepage and click on "Camping" and "Recreation".





Points of Interest


Springfield's wide range of interesting sights features numerous historical buildings, including the state's oldest schoolhouse and the country's first museum of telescopes, as well as several natural attractions in the region.
Main Street - Springfield Downtown Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the Main Street offers to the history buff a variety of architectural styles and character. A refurbished bridge and lights over the Comtu Falls offer visitors a bird's-eye view of the cascading falls. The Springfield Chamber of Commerce continues to be very involved in the continuing economic revitalization of Main Street and Downtown through its "Springfield on the Move" project. Revitalization of buildings, streetscapes and new retail are all a part of the long range plans being developed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Comtu Falls
Located in the very heart of downtown Springfield, the Comtu Falls and gorge is a magnificent sight and clearly visible from the newly refurbished Park Street Bridge. The indians used to traveled long distances to see the water pour over the rocks. The name "Comtu" means great noise,
As it flows through Springfield, The Black River drops 110 feet in one-eighth of a mile. During the 18th and 19th century, the river powered a variety of machine tool manufacturers.
Springfield Art & Historical Society
Located at 9 Elm Street, the society's exhibits include work by local artisans as well as Richard Lee pewter, Bennington pottery, 19th century American paintings, costumes, dolls, carriages and area historical items. No admission is charged.
Open Monday through Friday, May through October, noon to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
Eureka Schoolhouse

The state's oldest school, built in 1785, is located on Route 11 in Springfield. This one-room Vermont Historic Site was authentically reconstructed in 1968 by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
The schoolhouse is open to the public mid-May through mid-October, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
No admission is charged.
Hartness House and Hartness-Porter Museum
Now an elegant inn set on thirty-two acres of gardens and woodland, this rambling turn-of-the-century house was built in 1904 for James Hartness. Governor of Vermont from 1921 to 1923, a leading amateur astronomer and Vermont's first licensed pilot, Hartness designed and built the Turret Equatorial Telescope (in 1910), one of the first tracking telescopes in America. It remains in working condition to this day on the front lawn of Hartness House.


As owner of Jones and Lamson Machine Tool Company, Hartness hired Russell Porter, an engineer, to run the optical department of his firm. In 1937, Porter was approached to work on the Mt. Palomar Observatory, which was completed in 1948. Some of Porter's conceptual sketches from this project are on display in the "catacombs" some 240 feet from the Hartness House. This five-room underground apartment, which serves as a museum for the Springfield Telescope Makers, houses a collection of telescopes and unique drawings and paintings.
Springweather Nature Area
Some fifty-five acres of fields, shallow lakes, forests, brooks and flood plains overlooking North Springfield Lake were developed by the Ascutney Mt. Audubon Society in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Cemeteries
For the historic cemetery buff, Springfield boasts several very old cemeteries dating back to 1760. Further information is available at the Chamber of Commerce office.
Crown Point Road
The Crown Point Road was built in 1759-1760 by order of General Jeffrey Amherst, the commander of all British soldiers in North America.

A military road was needed from Boston to Lake Champlain and Montreal to move troops and supplies. Several markers identify the road in Springfield making it possible to hike this historic road.
American Precision Museum
Located on South Main Street in Windsor, the museum houses a major and expanding collection of hand and machine tools together with their various products: measuring tools, typewriters, computers, engines and dynamos to name a few. The graceful three-story structure also contains drawings, photographs, correspondence, catalogs, periodicals and biographical materials.
Ascutney State Park
A five-mile toll road to Ascutney's summit offers a breathtaking low-mile panorama and view of the park whose 1,984 acres contains camping and picnic sites, hiking trails and some of Vermont's most beautiful scenery.
Bellows Falls and Fish Ladder
"Ladders" have been constructed at points along the Connecticut River where hydroelectric dams have blocked passage upstream. These ladders facilitate the return of the Atlantic Salmon and American Shad to their native spawning grounds. Bellows Falls is located about ten miles south of Springfield.
Fort Number 4
Built 250 years ago during the French and Indian Wars, the fortified village of Fort Number 4 includes a palisade, province houses and lookout tower. Furnishings, crafts and tools have been assembled to enable period-costumed volunteers to depict frontier life in this 18th century, pre-Revolutionary community.
The fort is located six miles south of Springfield in Charlestown, NH, one-half mile east of Exit 7, I-91 on scenic Route 11, (603) 826-5700. Open 10a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weathersfield Historical Buildings
Located in Weatherstield Center, six miles north of Springfield and operated by the Weathersfield Historical Society, this museum collection of furniture, textiles, household items and farm tools is housed in a 1785 parsonage (the Reverend Dan Foster House) and the Weathersfield Center Meeting House, recently rebuilt. An Old Forge contains a working furnace and bellows. No admission is charged.
Open late June to mid-October, Wednesday through Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.



For more on this subject, return to the homepage and click on "Points of Interest" and "History".





Culture


Music is very much a part of living in Springfield. In summer, the Springfield Community Band performs outdoor concerts, as well as at Memorial Day exercises and parades. The fifty-member band also plays numerous concerts out of town.

The Southeast council on the Arts presents an annual series of at least eight programs featuring dance, folk music, chamber concerts, operatic vocals, jazz and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Concerts are held at Springfield High School and the First Congregational Church.

Other musical programs are presented by the Springfield Community Chorus, the high school concert band and chorus and several private groups. The Springfield Community Chorus presents an annual Christmas concert, a light spring concert and often combines with the adult choir or the Congregational Church to perform a choral work with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

The Springfield Art and Historical Society exhibits permanent collections as well as displays of the work of local artists.

The Springfield Community Players present several stage productions in different seasons. The Players have a small studio for rehearsals and an intimate theater (usually in summer), but uses the high school stage for major performances. The Springfield Community Players are the longest continuing amateur theater group in the state of Vermont and have performed at least once in each of the more than sixty years since their founding. Watch the newspaper for information about plays and times.

The area's oldest summer stock theater is located about a half-hour from Springfield in Weston, Vermont. For more than fifty years, professionals, college students and others have presented a ten-week season from late June through Labor Day weekend.

Additional cultural opportunities await those willing to drive forty-five minutes to the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College.

The Springfield Town Library is one of the busiest public libraries in Vermont. A gift of Henry Harrison Spafford (with additions donated by Mary Barnard and the children of Henry Barnard), the library contains about 39,000 adult and juvenile volumes and 1,000 records, plus cassettes, video and recording equipment. Library programs include story hours and special events for children as well as slide presentations, lectures, films and study groups for adults. The library has a fine collection of large-print books and a book delivery program which serves about twenty-five shut-ins.


For more on this subject, return home and click on "Art", "Entertainment", "Music", and "Reference".




Business & Industry

Springfield's agricultural enterprises continue to contribute to both the pastoral quality of the landscape and the area's economic base. Dairy products are the mainstay of farming. Maple syrup, plant nurseries, livestock, honey, vegetables, apples and other fruits also make significant contributions to the economy. Weekly farmers' markets and roadside stands are in evidence from early summer to mid-autumn.

The first machine shop, founded in 1829, manufactured cloth finishing and shearing tools. Soon textile mills and manufacturers of machines, dolls, baby and doll carriages and violin and guitar cases were well established. At their height, Springfield plants employed more than 3,000 skilled workers. Springfield was probably the most industrially famous small town in the Eastern United States.

Over the next 150 years, Springfield became known as "The Cradle of Invention." The most famous innovator was James Hartness, who after becoming a machinist apprentice, patented 120 different machines ranging from turret lathes to a safety razor, sundials and telescopes. It is also interesting to note that other Springfield inventions include a wire device for holding a boiled egg, guitar and violin cases, sandpaper, hay and straw cutters, doll carriages, jointed wooden dolls, the tracking turret telescope, optical comparator and many, many others.

When the machine tool industry began a decline in the 1980s, Springfield was faced with the problem of having been a one industry town. The solution was to broaden the town's economic base to keep one industry's failure from crippling the whole town. The Precision Valley Development Corp. was formed and by 1987, area companies included job shops, machine rebuilding firms, an optical comparator firm, a manufacturer of acrylic designs and computer related firms. The area's major non-manufacturing firms include Springfield Hospital and Dufresne-Henry Engineering/Stantech.

Attracting businesses to downtown Springfield was a revitalization project -"Sprucing up Springfield." Begun when a bank renovated an empty grocery store into a bank headquarters and shopping mall, revitalization has spread along the Black River. Unusual boutiques and an electroplating firm are among the owners and tenants in some of Springfield's grand old buildings, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Small businesses find opportunity with the Precision Valley Development Corporation which offers incubator facilities and support services at reasonable costs. Tenants currently sharing space in the 100 River Street Complex include a manufacturer of optical comparators, an acrylic manufacturer, a weaver of rugs and placemats, a manufacturer for the circuit board industry, cabinet makers and a textile printer. Business loans may be available through the Vermont Industrial Development Authority.

Businesses will also find excellent conditions at Springfield Industrial Park in North Springfield on Route 11 one mile from Hartness Airport. Owned by Precision Valley Development Corporation, the park's twenty-five acres of improved level land has sewer and water and is available for industrial development. Presently Central Vermont Public Service Corporation, Jen-Weld Manufacturing, Springfield Printing, Springfield Tool Supply, Prestained Lumber, IVEK, Vermont Timberworks , Smokeshine Woodworks, Ltd. and Hancor Corp. occupy the industrial park.

An excellent network of highways is a major benefit to Springfield's manufacturing firms, which ship most of their goods by truck. Interstate 91 connects with I-89 some thirty-five miles north of Springfield at White River Junction.

The future is bright for Springfield. Five full-service banks have capital for businesses and a full service credit union serves the general population. A healthy climate for growth is fostered by a progressive town government and professionally managed town attuned to needs of business.

Springfield has a stable labor force committed to a strong work ethic. Springfield is still recognized worldwide for its quality precision machine tools, which make automobiles, appliances and other things we use in our everyday life. With workers employed outside the machine tool industry, a burgeoning construction industry and tourism, Springfield's future looks bright indeed.

More than seventy business and civic leaders from the Springfield region joined together in early 1992 to raise nearly $100,000 to form a new economic development organization.

This organization was designated by the Vermont Department of Economic Development as the official regional development organization serving the Windsor County region. This designation by the state means that the organization receives financial subsidies from the state and also houses the Small Business Development Center at its Clinton Square offices. The group is always busily engaged in its primary activity to create and preserve good manufacturing jobs in the Windsor County Region.



For more info, return home and click on "Development", "Manufacturing" and other business categories.





Facts

Air Services
Hartness State Airport is a general aviation airport serviced by the fixed base operators KEM Aviation. Maintenance and service work on charters and small private planes which use the 5500 and 3200-foot paved and lighted runways is handled by KEM Aviation. Jet Fuel, IFR and private aircraft storage and maintenance are all available.

Altitude and Area
Springfield's altitude at Main Street is about 410 feet above sea level. The highest elevation in the area is Mount Ephraim (1,490 feet). The town of Springfield covers forty-seven square miles.

Climate
From June to August, temperatures climb into the high seventies and mid-eighties. Days are typically sunny and comfortable, ideal for outdoor activity. A daytime high in the mid-fifties is not unusual in October and May. Temperatures in the thirties and forties between November and mid-March bring out heavy coats and gloves. It is good to be prepared for an occasional sub-zero winter temperature. The average annual rainfall is 42.39 inches and the average snowfall is 99.9 inches.
Current Weather Conditions and Forecast.

Land Transportation
Access to and from Springfield is easy via Interstate 91, a modern four-lane highway.
Amtrak rail service and Vermont Transit bus service is available in Bellows Falls, fifteen miles south of Springfield. Local shuttle bus service available from Bellows Falls to Springfield and neighboring communities. Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, Ryder and U-Haul serve the region with rentals.

Restaurants
Eateries in the area range from small and intimate to an establishment that seats 100. In these establishments, choices range from good home-cooking to gourmet fare.

Shopping
Virtually every item or service that you may need can be found in the stores, shops, banks and professional offices located in the revitalized downtown area or in the shopping plaza just north of the center of town. Delightful antique shops specialize in dolls, toys, furniture, primatives and much more.