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A History of Springfield
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  • Timeline
    1829: Future site of Springfield designated by John Polk Campbell.

  • The first settlers (the brothers Fulbright and their families) followed in 1830.

  • 1833: The state legislature designated most of the southern portion of Missouri a single county.

  • 1835: Springfield becomes the county seat of Greene County, MO.

  • February 18, 1838: Springfield is first incorporated with a population of 300.

  • 1838: The Trail of Tears traveled through the Springfield area via what is known as The Old Wire Road.

  • 1858: The first westbound stagecoach, the Butterfield Overland Mail, reaches Springfield.

  • 1861: American Civil War - Union troops under Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon take control of the city soon after war breaks out.

  • August 10, 1861: American Civil War Battle of Wilson's Creek - Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch and Maj. Gen. Sterling Price march on the city. Confederate and Union forces meet 12 miles outside the city. In the bloody fighting which ensues, Gen. Lyon is killed and Col. Franz Sigel leads a Union retreat to Springfield and then Rolla. Confederate troops occupy Springfield. Lyon is the first Union General killed in the Civil War.

  • 1862: American Civil War - Confederates abandon Springfield to Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis.
    January 8, 1863: American Civil War Battle of Springfield - A Union garrison under Brig. Gen. Egbert Brown repels a Confederate attack led by Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke.

  • July 21, 1865: Wild Bill Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in the town square over a gambling dispute. The shootout reported nationwide is regarded as the first true western showdown.

  • 1870: First railroad, the St. Louis-San Francisco line.
    1887: Springfield merges with North Springfield.
    January, 1888: First mail delivery.

  • 1905: Fourth District Normal School (currently Missouri State University) founded
    April 14, 1906: Three African-American men, Horace Duncan, Fred Coker, and Will Allen, are lynched and burned by a mob over 2,000 strong without trial in the town square. This event sparked a mass exodus of African-Americans from the area, who still remain a vast minority. A small plaque on the south-east corner of the square serves as a reminder.

  • 1910: First electric lights installed.

  • 1919: Fourth District Normal School becomes Southwest Missouri State Teachers College

  • 11 October 1926: The Gillioz Theatre opens on Route 66
    1926: AASHTO settles dispute over U.S. Route 60. Cyrus Avery (head of the group), who is in Springfield at the time, accepts the number 66 for the new Chicago-Los Angeles route. Springfield gains the nickname "Birthplace of Route 66".

  • 1927: First radio station.

  • 1945: Southwest Missouri State Teachers College becomes Southwest Missouri State College

  • 1947: Red's Giant Hamburgers, world's first drive-thru restaurant, is opened

  • September 5, 1950: Baptist Bible College opens.

  • January, 1955: First color television broadcast in the city by KOLR-TV.

  • 1963: Cashew chicken created and served for the first time at Leong's Tea House.

  • 1972: Southwest Missouri State College becomes Southwest Missouri State University

  • 1990: First "Historic Route 66" marker on U.S. Route 66 is placed in Springfield.

  • 1998: Evangel College becomes Evangel University.

  • 2000: Drury College becomes Drury University.

  • August 28, 2005: Southwest Missouri State University becomes Missouri State University

  • January 2007: A severe ice storm strikes Springfield, causing widespread damage, and cutting electrical service to as much as 70% of the city. Thousands of residents are left without home heating for more than a week.                  source: wikipedia