At the start of the American Civil War, Springfield was divided in its loyalty.
The Union and Confederate armies both recognized the city's strategic importance.
The origin of the city's name is unclear, but the most common view is that it was named for Springfield, Massachusetts.
One account holds that James Wilson, who lived in the then unnamed city, offered free whiskey to anyone who would vote for the name Springfield, after his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.
"It has been stated that this city got its name from the fact of a spring and field being near by just west of town. When the authorized persons met and adopted the title of the "Future Great" of the Southwest, several of the earliest settlers had handed in their favorite names, among whom was Kindred Rose, who presented the winning name, "Springfield," in honor of his former home town, Springfield, Tennessee." Prior to 1830s, the native Kickapoo, Delaware, and the Osage tribes had settled in the general area.
On the southeastern side of the city in 1812, about 500 Kickapoo Native Americans built a small village of about 100 wigwams and then abandoned the site in 1828.
Springfield's nickname is "Queen City of the Ozarks" and it is known as the "Birthplace of Route 66".
It is home to several universities, including Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University.
It has an average annual precipitation of 45.6 inches (1,160 mm), including an average 17.0 inches (43 cm) of snow.
Springfield is near the population center of the United States, about 80 miles (130 km) to the east.
Springfield lies in the northern limits of a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), as defined by the Köppen climate classification system.
A plaque on the southeast corner of the square serves as reminder. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 82.31 square miles (213.2 square kilometres), of which 81.72 square miles (211.7 square kilometres) is land and 0.59 square miles (1.5 square kilometres) (0.7%) is water.
The city of Springfield is mainly flat with rolling hills and cliffs surrounding its south, east, and north sections.
Many streams and tributaries such as the James River, Galloway Creek and Jordan Creek flow within or near the city.