125 Year Anniversary
History of Springfield
was settled when Elias and Mary Briggs and their family arrived in 1848.
They were among the first party to travel to the region via the Southern
Route by Klamath Lake, over the Cascades, into the Rogue Valley, then
north to the Willamette Valley.
Elias Briggs chose for his home a place convenient to a spring of water
and in due time this land was fenced in. This enclosure became known
as the springfield hence the name of the town.
The Briggs family operated a ferry across the Willamette River at roughly
the site now occupied by the Union Pacific railroad bridge.
In 1852, Mr. Briggs
began building a town. He dug and built the mill race and he and
Mr. Driggs of Linn County formed the Briggs and Driggs Company and began
to build a flour mill and a saw mill in 1853 and 1854 respectively.
Springfield was platted
in 1856, incorporated as a city February 25, 1885, and received its charter
March 17, 1893. In 1891, Springfield had a general merchandise store,
two grocery stores, two cigar stores, a drug store, two dress shops, two
blacksmiths, a variety store, a meat market, a saloon, a barber shop,
a shoe store, three hotels, two schools, and three churches. Also,
in 1891, Springfield received its first railroad line. In 1910, Springfield
welcomed the Portland, Eugene and Electric Railroad streetcar.
its small town ways until after World War II. The retail center
was still Main Street, industries were northwest of the railroad tracks
and residences were to the north. In 1940, the Citys area was only
1.5 square miles and the population only 3,805. By 1998, apartments covered
the spring. The City expanded to more than 13 square miles and the
population grew to 51,700.
McKenzie Drift Boat:
of the City of Springfield
The City of Springfield
adopted the McKenzie drift boat as the community's official symbol on March
26, 1985 to commemorate the importance of this famous boat in the history
of Springfield and the McKenzie River. Early versions of the boat, created
by Veltie Pruitt and Prince Helfrich, floated the McKenzie River in the
early 1900s. After years of changes to the craft, boat builder Woodie 'Knoble'
Hindman developed the present design in 1946 on Main Street in Springfield.
This well-known craft is used today around the world on streams and rivers
requiring a sturdy agile boat to handle their perilous rapids. A detailed
one-half scale model is on display in Springfield City Hall.