The town of Springfield, supposedly founded by a Mexican woman named Donna Josefa Valmesada, was so named for the abundance of springs nearby. Valmesada was known for aiding Americans during the war with Mexico.

The Springfield townsite was laid out around a large central plaza. It is said that it was the only town on the Gold Rush where the first church was built before the first saloon. The town grew to near 2000, with a store, hotel, two churches, school, and post office. Despite also having one saloon, Springfield had a reputation for being clean, orderly, and sober. The Methodist Episcopal Church and a division of the Sons of Temperance probably helped contribute to this image.

During the busiest times, several hundred miners and 150 miners' carts could be seen hauling ore from surrounding mines to the springs at Springfield for washing. Some of these cartloads were reported to have yielded $1000, and in June 1854 a three pound lump of quartz yielded one pound of pure gold. As the gold diminished, however, so did Springfield. Today only one building, a historic marker, and a cemetery mark the site.

The Armory Building is the only building remaining in Springfield. It was built in 1854 to replace an earlier wooden structure destroyed by fire. Originally two stories, the bottom floor served as the Methodist Church and the upper floor was used for various groups' meetings. During the Civil War, the Methodists moved and this building was used as the armory. It was later used as a school, during which point a now-collapsed wooden kitchen was probably added. It's not known when the second floor was removed.

I Visited Springfield

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