Springfield, Massachusetts is the original city of its name in the United States. It is also one of the largest Springfields, as well as the largest city on the Connecticut River, with a population of 151,176 (2006). However, the city did not win the recent distinction of being the Simpson's Springfield; that honor went to another city of the same name in Vermont. Springfield has been home to notable residents such Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) and the inventor of basketball, James Naismith. The city is also the location of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Founded in 1636, Springfield was located on the floodplains of the Connecticut River where the fertile soil was perfect for farming. Long, narrow plots of farmland were created, extending out from the river. During the 1770s, George Washington chose the city to be the site of the National Armory. Today the term "Springfield Rifle" may refer to any sort of arms produced by the Springfield Armory for the United States armed forces.
The city remained a small, working town until approximately 1845, when the Wason Manufacturing Company, one of the earliest makers of railway passenger coach equipment in the United States, was established in Springfield. Soon after, many notable and successful companies were established and fueled the city's growth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of these were the Granville Brothers Aircraft, Duryeah Motor Wagon and most the famous- Indian Motorcycle Company. Today, Springfield is the home to Big Y Foods, Inc., Friendly's Ice Cream Corporation, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, TD Banknorth, and Smith & Wesson.
Springfield is known as the "City of Homes," a nickname given to it in the late 19th century due to its many Victorian mansions, as well as single-family houses inhabited by workers. Other events, sites of interest and historic places include The Quadrangle, a grouping of museums and sculpture gardens that remains a testament to the city's nineteenth-century grandeur;the famous St. Michael's Cathedral; and Bright Nights, a cultural attraction during the Christmas season in which Forest Park is decorated with lights in the form of various characters and scenes, including some from the works of Springfield native Dr. Seuss. For lovers of the performing arts, CityStage and Symphony Hall offer concerts, off-Broadway productions, children's programming, and guest speakers.