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Springfield Town

Springfield Town Hall is located at 6157 County Highway P, Dane, WI 53529; phone: 608-849-7887.

Beginnings [1]

Native Americans were the first human inhabitants of land that is now Springfield. Evidence of their camps and burial grounds remain today. The first white settlers arrived in 1841. Many were former factory workers in England, greatly challenged by the wild country they found here. They were not skilled as farmers, but did manage to log the land and eventually grow wheat, corn, and oats—crops still grown in the area. They also established the first Town government in 1848.

The first school was established near Waunakee. Eventually the Town supported 12 one-room schoolhouses. The first post office was in Clarks Corner (which may have been what is referred to today as Springfield Corners), followed by offices in Ashton Corners and Hyer Corner. The hamlets of Martinsville, Springfield Corners, Ashton, and Ashton Corners often developed around a single business, such as a cheese factory, to which farmers from the surrounding area would come daily to drop off their milk. Small service shops and stores often located in these hamlets as well, along with the families that ran them. As transportation became easier due to the availability of the automobile and better roads, these hamlets often lost their businesses to larger villages and cities. Yet the buildings remain, often converted to serve new uses. These hamlets contribute to the rural character of the Town and serve as a reminder of the Town's agricultural heritage.

Churches have also played a central role in the history of the Town, and they continue to be important to the community today. The first to establish a church were the Baptists. Ultimately, German Catholics also began to settle in the Town, and the need for a Catholic church became clear. St. Martin's Catholic Church was established in Martinsville in 1850. The building took several years to build, and was completed in 1868. By 1873 a school, convent, rectory and cemetery had been added. Saint Peter's, located in Ashton, is the only property in the Springfield listed in the State or National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1906, and features a Queen Anne style with clapboard walls, Palladian windows, and an octagonal corner tower. The parish still supports an active school for grades K-5, and maintains a rectory and cemetery.

In addition to the churches, the Town has a fine collection of historic or architecturally significant buildings and sites. The State Historical Society's Architecture and History Inventory (AHI) contains data on a wide range of historic properties throughout the state—such as round barns, cast iron bridges, commercial buildings, schoolhouses, and turn-of-the-century homes—that create Wisconsin's distinct cultural landscape. The AHI includes 37 documented properties in Springfield. These properties included older houses and outbuildings, farmsteads, and barns.

  1. Town of Springfield Plan Commission, Town of Springfield Comprehensive Plan, 2002, www.town.springfield.wi.us, accessed September, 2011.
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