Springfield Township municipal offices are located at 2320 Township Line Road, Quakertown PA 18951; phone: 610-346-6700.
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The first permanent settlers of Springfield Township were English and Scotch-Irish who moved up the Cooks Creek valley from the Delaware River. German colonists joined this settlement by moving up from Philadelphia to Quakertown and finally to Springfield. Most of the English were land speculators, while most of the Germans were settlers. Thus, it was the Germans who would have the largest influence on the development of the township.
Colonists first settled in Springfield Township along streams or near the many springs found throughout the hillsides. There they built their homes and cleared the land for farming. This could be exhausting work because the land was heavily forested and, in some areas, very rocky. It was many years before farms became productive and reliable sources of income.
Springfield Township is part of the Palisades Planning Area consisting of Bridgeton, Durham, Nockamixon, Springfield, and Tinicum townships and Riegelsville Borough. Historically, the Palisades Area has been relatively undisturbed by the wheels of change. To this day, the character of the area is still reminiscent of earlier times, with numerous pristine farms, historic villages, bridges, and inns. While growth (primarily in the form of single-family detached lots) has been minor, growth is expected to continue throughout the area. Given the relatively easy access to Interstate 78 via Routes 611 and 412, this area may see increased development pressures from commuters to and from the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton corridor and New York City metropolitan area. Over the past decade, growth and development was not as significant as anticipated in the Palisades Area, but lower interest rates and the recent approval/construction of several large-lot residential subdivisions in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County may be a signal of increased development across the region.
Springfield Township was, of course, originally a part of lands belonging to the Lenape Indians. William Penn, although already holding title to all land in the province under a grant from Charles II of England, still negotiated land purchases from the Lenape. The areas composing Springfield Township were not acquired from the Lenape until the Walking Purchase of 1737, when John and Thomas Penn secured the remainder of Bucks County, as well as lands composing present-day Lehigh and Northampton counties.
In 1743 Springfield's residents petitioned the court to incorporate their settlements into a township. The petition was granted and the township was surveyed and laid out in that same year. The township was named for its abundance of hill and meadow springs. As the agricultural economy of Springfield Township developed, schools, mills, churches, and general stores were built to serve the growing population. Roads were improved to the point where travel to the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia was possible. Profits rose as these markets were opened to local farmers, craftsmen, and mill operators.
During the remainder of the 1700s, villages developed at crossroads where waterpower was available to operate the grist and saw mills. Springtown became the largest of these villages. Springtown was located along a major road and surrounded by some of the best farmland in the area. In 1737 the town contained six to eight houses, a tavern, and a store. By 1896, the village contained two churches, a tavern, a store, mills, and 40 houses.
Springfield Township remained a largely agricultural-based community throughout its entire history, supplying meat, crops, and dairy products to the region. With the development of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Philadelphia as centers for manufacturing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the population of Springfield declined. With food prices falling, farming became less profitable and the prospect of better wages lured many to the big cities. Local industries were unable to compete and went out of business. Lacking the necessary support of the community, civic institutions, such as the literary and music society and the newspaper, also gradually disappeared.
Between 1980 and 1990, Springfield's population grew slightly, followed by a slight decrease between 1990 and 2000. Despite the construction of I-78 and development pressures moving northward through the county, the anticipated growth in the past decade has not occurred. However, given the township's wealth of natural and historical resources and proximity to major transportation routes make future growth in Springfield Township a distinct possibility. New development may result in a loss of the qualities that make Springfield unique and livable unless sound growth management policies and regulations are successfully implemented.
Established in 1743, Springfield Township has an abundance of historic resources, and their recognition is important in maintaining the township's cultural heritage and identity. Residential and nonresidential development proposals often pose a potential threat to historic and archeological sites. The Springfield Township Historic Commission and Springfield Township Historic Society have been instrumental in the identification and prompting the protection of historic properties. The Township Historic Commission has identified and documented various historic sites and has compiled the Township Historic Registry. The Historic Registry contains a listing of properties that possess architectural integrity and local significance and participation is entirely voluntary. The Historic Commission and Historic Society have also identified other significant historic properties, including sites that have received a 250th Springfield Township Anniversary commemorative plate due to their historic value
Source: Springfield Township Comprehensive Plan, 2002