Springfield Colorado ~History
The town of Springfield was originally organized by the Windsor Town Company in 1887 and was said to have begun officially on April 12 of that year. The name was selected because most of the new residents had lived in Springfield, Missouri. At 2:00 P.M. on July 5, 1887, the town of Springfield became a voting precinct and began procedures to apply to the County Courts for incorporation as a town.
The courts appointed C.F. Tipton, S.W. Love, Morris Cohen, James E. Church and G. H. McIntire as commissioners to call an election for January 7, 1889. This decree was issued November 26, 1888. On election day, the 17 voters unanimously approved the incorporation and by January 14 the County Courts released the notice that Springfield was classed as an incorporated town. The town's incorporation was then filed with Secretary of State James R. Noland on January 16th, who affixed the State of Colorado Seal to the certificate on June 25, 1917. The first county officers included Commissioners, Larence H. Sweetman of Springfield, John Minter of Minneapolis, and Daniel Wooley of Stonington; County Clerk, James E Church; Treasurer, R.W. DeVinney; Sheriff; and County Superintendent, Charles Smith.
Although Springfield had been named as temporary county seat when the state legislature created Baca County in 1889, a stormy campaign began among the towns of Springfield, Minneapolis, Stonington, and Boston for the permanent county seat. The day of the election, the two men representing Boston became lost in a snowstorm en route to Carrizo Springs where the election was to be held. In a flurry of claims of fraud and counterclaims the judges declared that a second election be held. It was in this election that Springfield won the distinction of becoming the permanent county seat of Baca County.
When Springfield was chosen as the permanent county seat, the city needed a courthouse. They purchased the largest hotel in Boston for this purpose for the sum of $6.000, payable upon delivery of the hotel if it was right side up and was handled with care. This structure burned to the ground the day before its final delivery. The next two courthouses also burned. The present courthouse was built in 1929. A WPA project constructed an addition to the structure on the west side.
With the new courthouse, Springfield now had to have a new jailhouse. H.X. Dewerdorf of the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company brought contracts before the Board Chairman, John Minter.
The contract was for a two celled steel cage, costing three thousand two hundred fifty four dollars. The jailhouse was received on September 1o, 1889 and paid for in cash on February 1, 1890. It was said that the sheriff could not exceed ninety five cents for feeding prisoners. According to the sheriff the main crime was horse thieving.
The reward for bringing them in was twenty-five dollars until one C.M. Brown led a petition to have this raised to one hundred dollars because of the number of horse thieves.
The area around Springfield began as predominantly cattle country. When town lots were sold, however, by the establishment of two newspapers, the herald and the Advertiser. Activity was very slow with sometimes as much as a week passing without anyone coming to town. The storekeepers would often stay home until a potential customer was sighted. The hardware store owner reported that he did not build a fire in his store for nearly three years.
More Baca County History at Kent Brooks Blog: http://bacacountyhistory.com
For some more history on Baca County, here is a new book to be released July 2, 2018 on Amazon.
About the Author
Kent Brooks has worked in higher education managing Information Technology and Distance Learning departments for colleges in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming for more than 20 years. Growing up he listened to southeast Colorado stories about broomcorn, the dust bowl and cowboys of the large cattle companies. He is a long time blogger on various technology topics for his own blog KentBrooks.com. He finally decided to start writing down some of the stories he heard growing up. Many of those are located at lonesomeprairie.com and Bacacountyhistory.com which covers historical topics about Baca County Colorado, the most southeast county in Colorado. He currently lives & works in Casper, Wyoming.