- The City of Springfield was founded in 1872 by John Burns, who worked for the Winona and St. Peter Railroad.
- Springfield is located in Brown County on the banks of the Cottonwood River. US Highway 14 runs through town.
- The Burns Brothers, John and Dan, were among the area’s earliest settlers in 1869. John settled just south of the current location of Springfield, while Dan settled to the west where Walnut Grove is now located.
- The 1st real wave of settlers to the Springfield area came in 1869, following the passage of the Homestead Act in 1862.
- Among the 1st families to settle the area were the Brown and Altermatt families. The Brown Family were all killed in the Sioux uprising of 1862, and a monument in the Springfield City Cemetery commemorates them. The children of the Altermatt family became well-known businesses and farmers in the community.
- Early land speculators in the Springfield area included: Sherburn Sanborn, William S. Mellen, George W. Van Dusen, and Walter L. Brackenridge.
- The credit for naming Springfield goes to Mike Gamble, the village’s 1st merchant and postmaster. Gamble was appointed Post Master in 1873 and named the village “Burns Station” after the town founder, John. He later found out that a post office by the name of Burns already existed in Anoka County, so he chose the name “Springfield” because there was a spring in a field on the southwest side of town.
- The 1st settlers in Springfield did their trading in New Ulm. Groceries and supplies were purchased in New Ulm, which was the nearest town. It was a day’s trip down and a day’s trip back in a lumber wagon. There was a sawmill in Iberia where lumber could be purchased as well.
- The railroad was built through Springfield to Tracy in 1872.
- A plat of the village that would become Springfield was filed in 1877, and 2 years later the community had 250 inhabitants, 4 stores, over a dozen other businesses, a school, 2 churches, and a doctor. The village was incorporated in 1881. In 1923, the village officially became a city.
- A weekly newspaper printed entirely in German appeared in Springfield in 1889. The Springfield Adler, or Eagle, was established by JB Velikanje and a man named Manderfield as a silent partner. The paper only lasted about 2 years before it folded.
- Springfield supported a cigar factory in the old days. William Mueller was the main supplier of “stogies” to area saloons. The factory was closed when Mueller was appointed Post Master.
- Springfield’s 1st big fire was in 1900 when the State Bank-Bendixen Building was destroyed. The next big one occurred in 1908 and totally destroyed the 8-room schoolhouse on the hill. This fire prompted the city council to take action. A water tower was erected, and water mains with hydrants were laid all over town.
- The Springfield School District’s mascot is the Tigers. Their varsity football team was the Class-A State Champion in 2005.
- Some of Springfield’s major employers include: Tesk Manufacturing, which makes trailers; Harvestland Co-Op; The Springfield Medical Center, a member of the Mayo Health Systems since 1998; St. John’s Lutheran Home, a large nursing home and assisted living facility; Acme-Ochs Brick; and the Powermate Corporation, a nation-wide distributor of air compressors and generators.
- Harvestland Co-Op and Powermate both underwent major expansions in 2005.
- The Springfield Medical Center completed major expansions in 2006. The $7.7 million project included new radiology and surgical suites, 12 private in-patient rooms, a doctor’s lounge, a new nurses station, and new obstetrical rooms.
- A groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2010 at the Sanborn Manufacturing plant in Springfield. The company constructed a 40,000 square foot addition to its existing warehouse to provide additional storage space.
Festivals & Events
- Springfield’s big summer festival is called “Riverside Days.” The annual event is always held on the last full weekend of June. The good times include things like a carnival, barbeque in the park, a kiddie parade, and much more.
- Springfield’s annual Nativity Pageant traditionally takes place during the 2nd weekend of December. The Christmas Story is told under the stars by more than 200 Springfield residents who volunteer their talent for the event. There are live animals in the manger, and a Springfield-area infant plays Baby Jesus. The admission is free, the community’s Christmas gift to area residents.
- The Springfield Theater holds an annual play every summer.
- The City of Springfield’s population is approximately 2,200 people. The City’s Mayor is Mark Brown.
- A new addition to the Springfield Area Community Center was officially completed in 2010. The project cost a total of just over $259,000. It was totally supported by gifts and donations, including a large gift from the Helen Fleischmann Estate.
- Expansion of the campground at the City of Springfield’s Riverside Park was completed in 2010. Work included upgrading the electricity to all campsites at the park, adding 5 new campsites, and enlarging several other sites. The work was funded by a $242,000 donation from the estate of Helen Fleischmann.
- A Springfield couple were the proud parents of the New Ulm Medical Center’s first baby of 2012. Lindsey and Tom Linan’s daughter Audrina was also welcomed by her big brother Tiago.
- The annual “Spirit of Springfield Award” was presented to Ken Koll in 2012. The 66-year-old served on the St. John Lutheran Home board of directors for over 20 years, established the Springfield Jaycees “Operation Christmas Joy” program in 1973, has been a member of the Springfield American Legion post for 42 years, was a founding member of the Springfield Area Foundation, has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 45 years, served as an emergency medical technician in Springfield for 21 years, is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, and much more.
- A Springfield High School science teacher was presented an award honoring teaching excellence in 2012. Amanda Meyer was the recipient of the Medtronic Foundation Science Teaching Award from the Minnesota Science Teachers Association.
- The Springfield School District Teacher Of The Year for 2012 was Science and Physical Education teacher Lyle Gomarko. He has been teaching in Springfield since 1986, and served as Head Football Coach for 12 years as well.
- The construction of a new flood levee along the Big Cottonwood River in Springfield took place in 2012. It’s located from just east of the Springfield Community Center to the western edge of Brown County Road 5. The cost of the more-than $724,000 levee was split between Springfield and the state.
- Springfield High School crowned Homecoming Royalty in September of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Jacob Menage, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Tiffany Schwanke.
- The Springfield Tigers football team raised over $4,000 as part of “Tackle Cancer” events during Homecoming 2012. A number of events were held over the week to raise the funds, and when the goal was reached Football Coach Paul Dunn, Principals Kuehn and Moriarity, and Superintendent Kottke all got a pie in the face. The Principals also had to chase a greased pig.
- A Springfield man was one of KNUJ’s Hometown Heroes for October of 2012 credited with rescuing a Nebraska man from a burning vehicle near Comfrey. Stetson Shoen of Springfield, and Nick Rients of rural Comfrey were working in nearby fields when the accident occurred. The 74-year-old driver had lost control of his van and it went into the ditch and began to burn. Rients and Shoen attempted to extinguish the flames before freeing the man from the vehicle by cutting his seatbelt and moving him to a safe location. The 2 were presented “Citizen Achievement” certificates from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office for their actions.
- One of the open seats on the Springfield School Board was filled with the flip of a coin in November of 2012. Doug Robertson and Mandy Rasset each received a total of 712 votes on Election Day, so the seat was decided with a coin flip, with Rasset calling “Heads” and the coin coming up tails, giving the seat to Robertson. He has served as a special education teacher and coach at Springfield Public Schools for the past 35 years.
- A new food shelf opened in Springfield in January of 2013. The United Methodist Church sponsors the facility, which is located in the Schwanke Engines building on Highway 14. It also serves the communities of Sanborn, Comfrey, Clements and Cobden.