Get to Know

City of Firsts

Springfield, the 3rd largest City in Massachusetts and the 4th largest in all of New England, is a City of many attributes. It has been known as the “City of Firsts” – a moniker earned through a history of innovation, including America’s first Armory and military arsenal and the first American made automobile. Springfield may be best known for two other innovations - the birthplace of basketball and of Theodor Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss”.

The City is in the midst of a successful and long term effort to revitalize itself. The economy is growing, businesses are flourishing, and public spaces are being made more vibrant everyday. The ability for both residents and visitors to be able to walk or bike around the City with ease and comfort is an important factor in this resurgence and essential in promoting a healthy and safe community.

Follow these links for more information on some of Springfield's historic firsts (external websites):

Springfield Armory National Historic Site dates to early in the American Revolution

The First American-English Dictionary has been published in Springfield since 1831 by Merriam-Webster

Duryea Motor Wagon Company, manufacturered America's first gas-powered automobile on Taylor Street in 1895

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tracks the history of a game invented at Springfield College

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden and The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss the Springfield Museums

Timeline: Indian Motorcycles first manufactured in Springfield in 1901

Springfield's 375th: From Puritans to Presidents

Mayor's Message

As the 54th Mayor of the City of Springfield, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to our fine city. While known around the world as the birthplace of basketball and Dr. Seuss, Springfield is also renowned for being the “City of Homes” for its great neighborhoods and impressive architecture.

This Old House magazine, USA Today, and Forbes magazine have all highlighted Springfield’s neighborhoods and housing stock as being both impressive and affordable.  The city was also recently highlighted by MSNBC as one of the top ten cities in America where business opportunities are rising. With the $950 million MGM Springfield project rising, the long awaited redevelopment of historic Union Station, and the new construction of the state of the art CRRC Corporation railcar assembly facility, Springfield continues to be an economic force in New England.

The business community in the city continues to thrive. While small businesses find the city a great place for a startup, we are also home to companies known around the world. MassMutual Financial
Group is a Fortune 100 company that is headquartered in Springfield and employs 3,800 in Springfield alone. Companies like Smith & Wesson, Big Y Foods, Merriam-Webster, Performance Food Group, Liberty Mutual, and Peter Pan Bus Lines all call Springfield home. Major healthcare providers Baystate Health, Mercy Medical Center, and Shriners Hospital make the city the place in Western Massachusetts
for top-notch healthcare.

With a newly branded Cultural District, the city is the cultural center of Western Massachusetts. Our world-class Springfield Museums, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, City Stage, and the Armory
National Park Site rival attractions in cities twice our size. Our Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a one-of-a-kind, spherical museum that features legends of the past, present, and future. We are also a hockey town – home to both the headquarters of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the AHL’s popular Springfield Thunderbirds. The Springfield Museums feature a collection of five world-class museums including a stunning art collection as well as the Museum of Springfield History – celebrating the history, culture, and innovation that helped make Springfield what it is today. The Museums continue to grow with the 2017 addition of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, honoring the work of beloved Springfield native Theodor Geisel.

Inspiration comes in the form of education as well, with four college campuses and several additional satellite locations in the city. Springfield is a proud affiliate of the Knowledge Corridor, which has
the second highest number of higher education institutions in all of New England.

These are just a few things that make this city a great place to live and work. Springfield is a place with a storied history and exciting future, and we hope you will join us in making this the best city in America.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno

Fifty Springfield Firsts

  • Springfield in the United States
  • Banned Book in the Americas
  • Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat"
  • Basketball's Birthplace
  • American-made Automobile
  • Telephone Party Line
  • Campfire Girls Founded
  • Witch Trial - Initial Proceedings
  • Thornton W. Burgess' Peter Cottontail
  • Clarence Birdseye's Frozen Foods
  • Indian Motorcycle - Gas Powered Motorcycle
  • Board Game - The Checkered Game of Life
  • Duryea Car - Commercially Sold Automobile
  • Ted Shawn Male Dancers
  • Largest U.S. Gun Maker - Smith & Wesson
  • Goodyear's Pliable Rubber Tires
  • Whistler's Father Built N.E. Railroads
  • "Good Housekeeping Magazine" Founded
  • Mass Mutual Insurance - Top 10 in U.S.
  • The Armory - Miltary Arsenal
  • Adjustable "Monkey" wrench
  • Blanchard's Assembly Line
  • Name of the Republican Party Given
  • Publication of Emily Dickinson Poems
  • Postcards Manufactured
  • Envelopes Manufactured
  • Friction Matches Patented
  • Fastened Ice Skates
  • Dog Show in the United States
  • Motorized Fire Wagon
  • Helen Hayes' Theatrical Debut
  • Junior Achievement Founded
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary Published
  • Planetarium - U.S. Designed and Built
  • Rolls Royce American Plant
  • Adult Education in the United States
  • YMCA Training School
  • Commercial Radio Station
  • UHF Television Station
  • Gee Bee Monoplane Built
  • Parking Meter in the United States
  • Railroad Sleeping Cars
  • Meat-Packing Industry
  • Springfield Rifle
  • Garand Rifle
  • The Musket
  • Repeating Pistol
  • Semi-automatic Rifle
  • Motorized Tractors
  • Electric Sewing Machine Needle
Page last updated:  Thursday, August 19, 2021 11:03 am