Welcome to Springfield, Vermont
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!
A Special Place
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.
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.
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.
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.|
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.
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.|
|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.
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.
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.
Current Weather Conditions and Forecast.
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.