Briggs' Spring

From Lane Co Oregon

When Elias Briggs chose a site for a new city on the east bank of the Willamette, between the Willamette and the McKenzie Rivers, the claim included a spring in a field. The town of Springfield was named for the spring that still exists on the corner lot of 2nd Street and B Streets. The spring was capped and covered and today an apartment building covers what was once the community's water source.[-Springfield Beacon, Wednesday, August 1st, 2007, B4]

[edit] Register Guard September 16, 1980

Here lies the spring from which a city sprang

Plaque marks birthplace of city on site where apartments stand.

Tentants of a nearby apartment building looked down from a balcony and trucks roared past on Second Street while a crowd of some 30 city officials and onlookers dedicated a bronze plaque Monday marking the site of the spring that gave Springfield its name.

The plaque, to be erected at an entrance to the Spring Site Apartments on Second Street between A and B Streets, marks the land claim settled by Elias and Mary Briggs in 1849 and the "spring in a field" which served as the city's source of water until 1913.

"If you had walked down this street as recently as 10 years ago an walked past this block you would have seen the grey-blue house on the corner (the Stewart House at 214 N. Second St., now an official city landmark) and another similar house next to it," Springfield Historical Commission Chairman William Coons said in his speech. "If you had peered in between the two houses, you might have noticed a small spring."

Although the spring had not been used as a source of water after 1913, the spring continued to flow - under a wire mesh covering - until it was covered over permanently in 1977.

"In 1974, one of the houses burnt to the ground, leaving Springfielders with only the grey-blue house on the corner," Coons said. "Soon on the lot where the house had burnt down, yellow and green apartments sprung up and new families played and lived on the fields where he spring once stood. Children who took water from faucets and refrigerators had no remembrance of carrying water buckets to a spring each day."

Coons sid the plaque will serve as "a reminder of the roots of our city's history."

The historical commission's program of landmark designations and historic plaques celebrates improtant city places, draws attention to them and helps Springfield become "a living museum," he said.

"This spring provided the growing community with water and symbolizes the beginnings of the city of Springfield," Mayor Vern Meyer said in his dedication speech. He said the plaque will serve as an inspriation in the future.

However, residents who want to view the plaque won't be able to do so until it's installed. Officials went ahead with the dedication Monday night with the dedication Monday night with the plaque lying in the dirt of a shrub bed. Workmen are to install a basalt base for the plaque later this week, according to David Hess of the architectrual firm of R.A. Danielson and Associates.

Hess said Ken Rankin, the developer of the 12-unit Spring Site apartment building, purchased and is installing the plaque as a requirement for obtaining a city building permit.

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