The territory known as Missouri was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Soon after, the Delaware Native Americans received treaty land where Springfield’s Sequiota Park and the antique stores of Galloway Village stand today. Missouri became a state in 1821.
"Wild Bill" Hickok Gunfight
In the wake of the Civil War, Springfield helped give birth to the Wild West era. In July 1865, the town square was the site of the nation’s first recorded shootout. The incident between “Wild Bill” Hickok and David Tutt was also significant due to the incredible marksman- ship exhibited by Hickok that made him known worldwide.
Bonnie & Clyde Kidnapping
In 1933, Springfield police officer Tom A. Persell was kidnapped by the infamous Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and their gangster sidekick, W.D. Jones – and lived to tell the tale. Persell, on a motorcycle, pulled over a suspicious car and found himself facing a sawed-off shotgun. Bonnie and Clyde were on the lam and ordered Persell to get in the car and guide them out of town so they could dodge the cops. Six hours later, Persell was released unharmed near Joplin.
In 1833, the legislature designated most of the southern portion of Missouri a single county. It was named for Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, largely through John Polk Campbell’s campaign to honor a man he admired. Campbell was the founder of Springfield, announcing his claim in 1829.
Arrival of the Railroad
On April 21, 1870, the St. Louis-San Francisco line rolled through Springfield, establishing a new city, North Springfield, with Commercial Street as its downtown. Commercial and industrial diversification came with the railroad and strengthened the City of Springfield when the two towns merged 17 years later in 1887. Today visitors can enjoy the view from the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, peering below to the locomotive path sill in use.