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Springfield, Ohio
City of Springfield
Skyline view of downtown Springfield showing the EF Hutton Tower, Clark County Heritage Center, Tecumseh Building, and the greater area.
Skyline view of downtown Springfield showing the EF Hutton Tower, Clark County Heritage Center, Tecumseh Building, and the greater area.
Official seal of Springfield, Ohio
Seal
Nickname(s): 
The Home City, The Rose City (City of Roses), The Champion City, The Field
Location within the state of Ohio
Location within the state of Ohio
Location of Springfield in Clark County
Location of Springfield in Clark County
Springfield, Ohio is located in Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Location in Ohio
Springfield, Ohio is located in the United States
Springfield, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Location in the United States
Springfield, Ohio is located in North America
Springfield, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Location in North America
Country  United States
State  Ohio
County Clark
Founded 1801
Incorporated 1827 (village)
1850 (city)
Government
 • Type Council–manager
Area
 • City 25.95 sq mi (67.22 km2)
 • Land 25.79 sq mi (66.79 km2)
 • Water 0.17 sq mi (0.44 km2)
Elevation
978 ft (298 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 58,662
 • Estimate 
(2019)
58,877
 • Density 2,283.29/sq mi (881.58/km2)
 • Metro
136,001
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
45501–45506
Area code(s) 937, 326
FIPS code 39-74118
GNIS feature ID 1065370
Website www.ci.springfield.oh.us

Springfield is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Clark County. The municipality is located in southwestern Ohio and is situated on the Mad River, Buck Creek, and Beaver Creek, approximately 45 miles (72 km) west of Columbus and 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Dayton. Springfield is home to Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college.

As of the 2020 census, the city had a total population of 58,662, The Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 136,001 residents. The Little Miami Scenic Trail, a paved rail-trail that is nearly 80 miles long, extends from the Buck Creek Scenic Trail head in Springfield south to Newtown, Ohio (near Cincinnati). It has become popular with hikers and cyclists.

In 1983, Newsweek magazine featured Springfield in its 50th-anniversary issue, entitled, "The American Dream." It chronicled the effects of changes of the previous 50 years on five local families. In 2004, Springfield was chosen as an "All-America City." In the 2010s, Springfield ranked low among cities in the state and nation for indicators such as health, happiness, and well-being.

History

The villages of Peckuwe and Piqua were located near today's Springfield, Ohio, at 39° 54.5′ N, 83° 54.68′ W and 39° 54.501′ N, 83° 54.682′ W respectively, and were home to the Peckuwe and Kispoko Divisions of the Shawnee Tribe until the Battle of Piqua, August 8, 1780. The Piqua Sept of Ohio Shawnee Tribe have placed a traditional cedar pole in commemoration, located "on the southern edge of the George Rogers Clark Historical Park, in the lowlands in front of the park's 'Hertzler House.'"

Springfield was founded by James Demint, a former teamster from Kentucky, in 1801. When Clark County was created from parts of Champaign, Madison and Greene counties, Springfield, named for Springfield, Massachusetts – which, at the time, was important for hosting the U.S. Federal Springfield Armory; enduring the Attack on Springfield during King Philip's War in 1675,; and Shays' Rebellion in 1787.

Springfield traces its early growth to the National Road, which ended in Springfield for approximately 10 years as politicians wrangled over the path it would continue. Dayton and Eaton wanted the road to veer south after Springfield, but President Andrew Jackson made the final decision to have the road continue straight west to Richmond, Indiana.

During the mid-and-late 19th century, Springfield was dominated by industrialists including Oliver S. Kelly, Asa S. Bushnell, James Leffel, P. P. Mast and Benjamin H. Warder. Asa S. Bushnell built the Springfield, Ohio Bushnell Building where the patent attorney to the Wright Brothers, Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Sr., wrote the 1904 patent to cover the invention of the airplane. To promote the products of his agricultural equipment company, P. P. Mast started the Farm and Fireside magazine. Mast’s publishing company – Mast, Crowell, and Kirkpatrick – grew to become Crowell-Collier Publishing Company best known for Collier's Weekly. In 1894, The Kelly Springfield Tire Company was founded.

At the turn of the 20th century Springfield became known as the "Home City." Several lodges including the Masonic Lodge, Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows built homes for orphans and aged members of their order. Springfield also became known as "The Champion City". a reference to the Champion Farm Equipment brand manufactured by the Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Company, which was later absorbed into International Harvester in 1902. International remains in Springfield as Navistar International, a producer of medium to large trucks.

In 1902 A.B. Graham, then the superintendent of schools for Springfield Township in Clark County, established a "Boys' and Girls' Agricultural Club." Approximately 85 children from 10 to 15 years of age attended the first meeting on January 15, 1902 in Springfield, Ohio, in the basement of the Clark County Courthouse. This was the start of what would be called the "4-H Club" within a few years, quickly growing to a nationwide organization. (4-H stands for "Head, Heart, Hands, and Health"). The first "projects" included food preservation, gardening and elementary agriculture. Today, the Courthouse still bears a large 4H symbol under the flag pole at the front of the building to commemorate its part in founding the organization. The Clark County Fair is the second largest fair in the state (only the Ohio State Fair is larger) in large part to 4H still remaining very popular in the area.

On March 7, 1904, over a thousand residents formed a lynch mob, stormed the jail and removed prisoner Richard Dixon, a black man accused of murdering police officer Charles B. Collis. Richard Dixon was shot to death and then hung from a pole on the corner of Fountain and Main Street, where the mob continued to shoot his lifeless body. The mob then proceeded to burn much of the black area of town. In February 1906, another mob formed and again burned the black section of town known as "the levee". Sixty years later, Springfield was the first city in Ohio to have a black mayor, Robert Henry.

Springfield-ohio-courthouse
Clark County Courthouse in downtown Springfield

From 1916 to 1926, 10 automobile companies operated in Springfield. Among them: The Bramwell, Brenning, Foos, Frayer-Miller, Kelly Steam, Russell-Springfield and Westcott. The Westcott, known as the car built to last, was a six-cylinder four-door sedan manufactured by Burton J. Westcott of the Westcott Motor Car Company. Burton and Orpha Westcott however, are better known for having contracted the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design their home in 1908 at 1340 East High Street. The Westcott House, a sprawling two-story stucco and concrete house has all the features of Wright's prairie style including horizontal lines, low-pitched roof, and broad eaves. It is the only Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style house in the state of Ohio. The property was purchased in 2000 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (Chicago, IL), and as part of a prearranged plan, the house was then sold to a newly formed local Westcott House Foundation. The Westcott House Foundation managed the extensive 5-year, $5.3 million restoration, the house was fully restored to its original glory in October 2005, when it officially opened to the public for guided tours.

SpringfieldOH Old City Hall
Old City Hall, now the Clark County Heritage Center

International Harvester (now Navistar), manufacturer of farm machinery and later trucks, became the leading local industry after Springfield native William Whiteley invented the self-raking reaper and mower, in 1856. It held that position, along with Crowell-Collier Publishing, throughout most of the next century.

The city is served by one daily newspaper, the Springfield News-Sun, and by one weekly newspaper, The Springfield Paper.

Geography

Springfield is located at 39°55′37″N 83°48′15″W / 39.92694°N 83.80417°W / 39.92694; -83.80417 (39.927067, −83.804131).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.50 square miles (66.04 km2), of which, 25.29 square miles (65.50 km2) is land and 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2) is water. The Clarence J. Brown Reservoir is located on the northeast outskirts of Springfield.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 593
1820 1,868 215.0%
1830 1,080 −42.2%
1840 2,062 90.9%
1850 5,108 147.7%
1860 7,002 37.1%
1870 12,652 80.7%
1880 20,730 63.8%
1890 31,895 53.9%
1900 38,253 19.9%
1910 46,921 22.7%
1920 60,840 29.7%
1930 68,743 13.0%
1940 70,662 2.8%
1950 78,508 11.1%
1960 82,723 5.4%
1970 81,926 −1.0%
1980 72,563 −11.4%
1990 70,487 −2.9%
2000 65,358 −7.3%
2010 60,608 −7.3%
2020 58,662 −3.2%
2019 (est.) 58,877 −2.9%

As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $32,193, and the median income for a family was $39,890. Males had a median income of $32,027 versus $23,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,660. 16.9% of the population and 13.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.9% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 60,608 people, 24,459 households, and 14,399 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,693.7 people per square mile (1,039.6/km2). There were 28,437 housing units at an average density of 1,263.9 per square mile (487.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.2% White, 18.1% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 24,459 households, of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 18.6% had a female householder with no spouse present, 5.9% had a male householder with no spouse present, and 41.1% were non-families. Of all households, 34.1% were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38, and the average family size was 3.01.

In the population was spread out, with 24.4% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

In popular culture

In the 1950 film Pagan Love Song, starring Esther Williams, actor Howard Keel played Hap "Hazard" Endicott, a school teacher from Springfield, Ohio.

In 2009, during a scene of the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, "Springfield, Ohio" is listed in the scene caption as the location of a carnival where Victor Creed/Sabretooth finds Chris Bradley/Bolt working as a game booth attendant.

The Springfield News-Sun, The Wittenberg Torch, WEEC-FM radio, WUSO-FM radio are the city's main media organizations.

PBS' Market Warriors on September 17, 2012 featured the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market.

Economy

Springfield has a notably weakened economy due to many factors, but a key cause for degradation of the economy in Springfield has been the decline in manufacturing jobs. Between 1999 and 2014, Springfield saw the median income decreased by 27 percent, compared to just 8 percent across the country. In the 1990s, Springfield lost 22,000 blue collar jobs, which was the backbone of the city economy. Today, Springfield largely relies on healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, leisure, education, financial institutions, and retail for employment.

Education

Springfield City Schools enroll 8,604 students in public primary and secondary schools. The district operates 16 public schools including ten elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, and one alternative school.

Also located in Springfield is the Global Impact STEM Academy, an early-college middle school and high school certified in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum. It was founded in 2013.

Wittenberg Ward St En 11-23-08
Wittenberg University

Springfield is home to two institutions of higher learning, Wittenberg University, and Clark State Community College.

Wittenberg University is a Lutheran university that was founded in Springfield in 1845. It is a four-year private liberal arts university. It has approximately 1800 students and a faculty of approximately 140. It is situated on a campus of 114 acres. It is one of the most highly-rated liberal arts universities in the nation, offering more than seventy majors. Wittenberg has more than 150 campus organizations, which include ten national fraternities and sororities. The WUSO radio station is operated on the campus.

The city is also home to Clark State Community College. Clark State Community College was founded in 1962 under the name of the Springfield and Clark County Technical Education Program as a technical education college for Clark County, Ohio and the surrounding area. It changed its name in 1966 to Clark County Technical Institute. The Ohio Board of Regents accredited it as Ohio's first technical college. It is now called Clark State Community College and has more than one thousand students. It offers courses in business, health, public services, engineering technologies, agriculture, and general studies.

The Clark County Public Library operates three public libraries within the city of Springfield.

Notable people

The following are notable people born and/or raised in Springfield:

  • Berenice Abbott – photographer
  • Randy Ayers – former basketball head coach of Ohio State and the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Minnie Willis Baines Miller – author
  • Edward Lyon Buchwalter – first president of the Citizens National Bank of Springfield, Ohio, U.S. Civil War captain.
  • Dave Burba – major league baseball player
  • William R. Burnett – novelist and screenwriter
  • Ron Burton – professional football player
  • Garvin Bushell – musician (saxophone, clarinet, etc.)
  • Butch Carter – NBA player and coach
  • Justin Chambers – actor (Alex Karev, Grey's Anatomy) and former model
  • Call Cobbs, Jr. – jazz pianist
  • Jason Collier – professional basketball player
  • Andrew Daniel – winner of Big Brother 5
  • Trey DePriest – former linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens, 2 time NCAA National Champion of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
  • Marsha Dietlein – actress
  • Adam Eaton – Major league baseball player
  • Wayne Embry – professional basketball player
  • Dorothy Gish – actress from the silent film era and after; younger sister of Lillian
  • Lillian Gish – actress from the silent film era and after
  • Luther Alexander Gotwald Prof., D.D. – tried for and acquitted of Lutheran heresy at Wittenberg College in 1893
  • Albert Belmont Graham – founder of 4-H
  • Harvey Haddix – major league baseball player
  • Robert C. Henry – first African American mayor in Ohio
  • Dustin Hermanson – major league baseball player
  • Dave Hobson – former U.S. Congressman for Ohio's Seventh District
  • Alice Hohlmayer – All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
  • Griffin House – singer-songwriter
  • Jimmy Journell – major league baseball player
  • Taito Kantonen – academic and theologian
  • J. Warren Keifer – Civil War general and Speaker of the House
  • Bradley Kincaid – America's first country music star. He performed on WLS, WBZ, and WLW.
  • David Ward King – inventor of the King road drag
  • Brooks Lawrence – major league baseball player
  • John Legend (a.k.a. John Stephens) – singer, musician, R&B and neo-soul pianist
  • Lois Lenski – author and illustrator of children's fiction, including Strawberry Girl
  • Deborah Loewer – U.S. Navy flag officer
  • Luke Lucas – major league baseball player
  • Johnny Lytle – jazz musician
  • Will McEnaney – major league baseball player, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds
  • Jeff Meckstroth – multiple world champion bridge player
  • Braxton Miller – Ohio State quarterback and NFL player
  • Davey Moore – boxer, World Featherweight Title holder 1959–1963
  • Troy Perkins – professional soccer player
  • Carl Ferdinand Pfeifer – presidential aide
  • Coles Phillips – early 20th-century illustrator, inventor of the "fade-away" girl
  • Robert Bruce Raup – professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, writer, and critic of American Education system.
  • Alaina Reed Hall – television actress, 227 and Sesame Street
  • Cecil Scott – jazz clarinetist, tenor saxophonist, and bandleader
  • Dick Shatto – professional Canadian football player
  • Winant Sidle – U.S. Army major general
  • Elle Smith - Miss USA 2021
  • James Garfield Stewart – Supreme Court of Ohio the 109th justice
  • Dann Stupp – author
  • Charles Thompson – jazz musician
  • Tommy Tucker (a.k.a. Robert Higginbotham) – jazz musician
  • Chris Via – professional bowler on the PBA Tour, winner of the 2021 U.S. Open
  • Christopher J. Waild – screenwriter
  • Helen Bosart Morgan Wagstaff - artist
  • James R. Ward - World War II Medal of Honor recipient was born in Springfield.
  • Earle Warren – jazz saxophonist with Count Basie
  • Walter L. Weaver – U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Rick White – major league baseball player
  • Worthington Whittredge – Hudson River School painter
  • Jonathan Winters – actor and comedian
  • J. T. Brubaker Baseball Player

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