This survey highlights Springfield's beginnings as an industrial oriented settlement growing into a city with an increasingly diversified industrial base well into the 20th century. Discussed in this connection is the role of railroads as a necessary condition to industrial success. As industry grew, commercialism expanded, and became centralized in the downtown. The text traces the city's viable and lively downtown from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The background for the decline following World War II is covered, as well as the downtown's changing role in the modern era. Not all, however, is industry and commerce. The city's wealth and the wealth of individual citizens led to the construction of many fine buildings of architectural merit as venues for cultural, entertainment, and religious functions. Many of these structures are treated in relation to their cultural functions. Not the lease of the topics discussed is Springfield's saga with infrastructure problems and their eventual correction.
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