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History of Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts, lies on the banks of the Connecticut River, in the western part of the state. It is named for the city in England where William Pynchon, who founded the new city in 1636, was born. The city suffered considerable destruction during King Philip's War. Springfield became the national armory for the Continental Army during the War of Independence. Following the war, men from Western Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays, attempted to seize the armory in what became known as Shays' Rebellion. The armory continued to produce Springfield rifles for the U.S. Army until it was closed in 1968. Springfield's reputation as a weapons manufacturing center continued into the 19th century. In 1852, the year in which Springfield was incorporated as a city, Smith and Wesson incorporated in Springfield and has maintained its headquarters there to this day. Other highlights of Springfield’s history in manufacturing include the development in 1893 of the first commercially produced gasoline-powered automobile by the Duryea Brothers: Charles and Frank. In 1901, the Indian Manufacturing Company was founded in Springfield and produced the first brand of motorcycle in America. Springfield also has a place in sports history. In 1891, James Naismith invented the game of basketball at the Springfield YMCA. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Springfield. Springfield is the seat of Hampden County, although county governmental functions are now performed by Massachusetts state agencies.