SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL FACTS
• Springfield Township was established on February 10, 1795.• Springfield Township was originally plotted to be approximately 5 miles by 7 miles in size.
• Winton Road was an Indian trail that was also used by soldiers traveling to Fort Washington and Fort Hamilton.• 1804 - The first officers of Springfield Township were: John Ludlow, clerk; James Wallace, overseer of the poor; Henry Tucker and Jacob White, overseers of highways; Isaac Martin, John Vance and Luke Foster, viewers of enclosures and appraisers of damages.
Once a part of Springfield Township:
Glendale was incorporated on March 13, 1855
Wyoming was incorporated on July 2, 1870
Hartwell was incorporated in 1876
Mt. Healthy was plotted in 1817
• In approximately 1935, the United States Government purchased 5,930 acres of farmland in Springfield Township to build Greenhills.Greenhills was one of the three greenbelt towns built for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal for the purpose of moving low-income families out of the inner city slums.
• The Northern Hills Fire Department was organized in 1942.
•The Northern Hills Life Squad was founded in 1956.• The Edgemont Fire Department began during World War II and was chartered on October 1, 1964
• Springfield Township was the first township to operate its own Police Department.
• William G. Hafer was appointed as the first constable in August of 1961.He was the only township resident law enforcement officer.
• In September of 1964, a Police District was established in Springfield Township and William G. Hafer was appointed as Chief.
• Springfield Township is among the top 20 largest townships in the state.
• Springfield Township has 10 communities that neighbor it.
• There are 7 school districts that draw students from Springfield Township:
• Finneytown, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, Northwest, Princeton, Winton Woods and Cincinnati Public Schools
Before European SettlementInformation written and provided by Dave Bean, historian and professor
The region became a battleground between the British and French colonial powers with shifting alliances and battles with the
indigenous populations. European settlers valued the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains for the
storehouse of furs and trade with the Indian population. Eventually France and
Britain went to war over the area with the British prevailing and in an attempt
to preserve peace with the native people as well as maintain control of their
seaboard colonies and limit their colonial expenses issued the Proclamation of 1756. This act of
Parliament when added to other perceived injustices served as a major cause of
the American Revolution.
Pioneer Settlement and Expansion
With the establishment of independence, the reality of the
cost of government and the compulsive westward movement of people, the
government under the Confederation crumbled
andthe adoption of The Constitution a new chapter for the
area evolved. The area was seen as the treasure chest for the nation by Alexander Hamilton. He concluded the
new nation could pay its way by the sale of the lands to the west and north of
the Ohio River. In order to make collection of payment convenient Hamilton’s
plan called for selling claims to “responsible” people in large grants. These
sales were generally done on credit and it was expected that the investors
would subdivide the regions providing the ever growing demand for new lands a
source of satisfaction. The government would profit, the investors would profit
and the land hungry settlers would get within reach of their “American Dream.”
Thus it was that Congress created The
It was into this virgin land that Benjamin Stites ventured in 1786. The bounty of the land astonished
him and upon returning to his home in New York sought out one of the
“responsible” people who could secure a grant from Hamilton. In 1787, John Cleves Symmes negotiated the “Miami Purchase.” This was for approximately 2 million
acres bounded on the south by the Ohio River, the west by the Great Miami River
and on the east by the Little Miami. The northern border was not defined. [In
establishing the Northwest Territory, Congress had employed Thomas Hitchens to arrange the land
survey which was necessary to resolve the conflicting claims created by the
several new states and older claims based on British colonial governments. This
system which uses Meridians and Parallels became the standard for U.S. land
expansion. Townships of 6 miles square were to be created and within each
township, sections of 1 mile square were established.] Symmes promised to pay
$66 2/3 (New York) and went in search of additional investors. He agreed that
they could buy land from him at the rate he was getting it for until May of
1788. From May until November of 1788 the price would go up to $1.00 (N.Y.)
until November of 1788. After November the price was to be negotiated. Most
know the story of the founding of Cincinnati and it will be ignored at this
There was little reason to worry about creating smaller
townships out of the original Cincinnati Township because few people would
venture away from the new city or the numerous “stations” established as
outposts of population. Stations usually consisted of a block house with
individual cabins close by. One must remember, the establishment of the
Northwest Territory totally ignored the interests of the local residents who
engaged the pioneers in a constant struggle. The first governor of the
territory, Arthur St.Clair rapidly
ordered fortifications built in a line northward from Ft. Washington (1789) to
Ft. Hamilton and northward. From these forts military forces sought to drive
the Indian population away or pacify them. The resulting “Indian Wars”
continued in this area until the Battle
of Fallen Timbers was won by Anthony
Wayne in 1794. Growth had been slow in the region as many potential
settlers turned southward when warned by people on the south side of the Ohio
River to “avoid the Miami Slaughter House.” However with word of Wayne’s success settlers began pouring
in and Springfield Township was created.
The first officers of the township were selected by the
quarter sessions court in 1795. They were; John
Ludlow, Clerk, James Wallace,
overseer of the poor, Henry Tucker
and Jacob White, overseers of
highways, Isaac Martin, John Vance and
Luke Foster, viewers of enclosures and appraisers of damages.
Changes in both selection of officers and township
boundaries occurred as Ohio moved to statehood in 1803. Officers were elected
no longer appointed, terms of office increased from one year ultimately to 4
year staggered terms and treasurers and assayers appeared and then were
eliminated. The growth of population is reflected in the increase in township
officials. In 1804 the following were elected; three trustees, a clerk, two
overseers of the poor, a supervisor of highways, several justices of the peace
and a constable.
19th Century Development
New concentrations of people occurred which came to be villages and towns and neighborhoods within the township boundaries Among the earliest identifiable locals was Finneytown.(Never to become an incorporated village) Settled by E..W. Finney and a party of family and friends in 1800. The intersection of “The road to Winton’s Plantation” and the “Cleves to North Bend” road became a site of a “New Light” church, a black smith shop, a general store and tavern where the owner would give you a drink if you bought a box of matches from him. Needless to say, the homes in the area were well stocked with kitchen matches for years to come. The early settlement at White’s Station grew to become Springfield and was incorporated in 1806. Its name was changed by the Post Office department to Springdale. Located on the military road to Hamilton and west Compton road another community grew and also experienced a name change thanks to the Post Office department. Originally known as Mt. Pleasant its name was changed to Mt. Healthy. The town was platted in 1817. A short distance north of Mt. Pleasant a community developed as a way station on the Hamilton road and developed numerous businesses related to the heavy wagon traffic, this was New Burlington. First settled in 1816, during the Civil War John Morgan and his raiders were seen in Harrison and people rushed to hide the women in the woods and the horses in the houses. Lockland split away from the township in 1829 and gaining significance during the canal building era. Glendale was laid out in 1807 but was not incorporated until1851. Glendale was noted for the establishment of the Glendale Female Institute which closed its doors in 1880. Noteworthy also was the design of streets in the village of which almost all employ multiple curves. The community served as a bedroom community for business men of large downtown Cincinnati businesses. The railroad and telephone played significant roles in its development. In 1870 Wyoming secured corporation rights. It derived its name with a similar wide valley location in Pennsylvania. The name came from the Iroquois meaning, “beautiful valley.” Hartwell gained incorporation in 1877. The population of Springfield Township in 1870 was (less the populations of the several incorporated areas) was 6,584. By 1880 it had increased to 7,975.
Following World War II
The next several decades found Springfield Township satisfactorily
passing the years concentrating on agriculture and related services. Things remained as they had been until
the end of World War II. With the changes in industry, transportation,
communication, the G.I. Bill, Federal Home Loan Administration and a sense of
optimism Springfield Township entered its “modern age” New communities sprang
up and farm land disappeared under concrete and crab grass. Holleydale appeared
in 1949. Valleydale was platted a bit earlier in 1930. Suddenly you needed a
map to find your way around the rapidly changing township as developers rushed
to provide housing for the returning vets. Shopping centers began to appear and
life became more connected to the automobile. The federal government stepped in
and built Winton Lake to assist in controlling floods on the Millcreek and Ohio
rivers. Around Winton Lake one of the nations three “greenbelt” communities was
developed as Greenhills. With all the growth the demand for governmental
services increased as rapidly. Schools were built at an astonishing rate. With
all the kids in the young families it seemed impossible to build class rooms
fast enough. In Finneytown for example; between 1948 and 1958 there was a 368%
increase in the school age population. The residents were presented with 9 tax
levies and bond issues. Only one failed. The voters indicated the millage was
too LOW and when the school board raised the amount it passed with a 75%
Fire protection and police services faced increased demands. The Northern Hills Volunteer Fire Department was organized in 1942 in Parkview Heights on North Bend Rd. in Finneytown. It was a volunteer organization of some 25 men who raised money for pumper trucks and such through carnivals and other local fund raisers. The few possessions of the department were stored in Haskin’s Garage on North Bend Rd. Co-operation with the township began in 1946 as the trustees agreed to purchase a lot on the north east corner of Winton and Galbraith for $1250 for a fire house and also a 500 gallon pumper. Lack of funds prevented the firehouse from being constructed as originally designed and its location so far from the homes of the original firefighters caused the force to expand by 3 men living near the new location. The department grew in number and organization and by 1948 the term “Volunteer” was dropped from the name. Alarm bells and roof mounted sirens were used to summon the volunteers through out the 40s and 50s. A used ambulance was added in 1956 to be used by the life squad. and in 1959 , a new firehouse was built near the township hall on the north west side of the Winton and Galbraith intersection adjacent to the west bound entrance to Cross County Highway. The distribution of population pushed the more isolated parts of the township to develop their own fire departments.
During World War II a civilian defense program funded by the federal government gave birth to a force of some 15 volunteers who formed the Edgemont Volunteer Fire Department. It grew from a home made two wheeled trailer to haul equipment over time to include a pumper and ambulance purchased through a township fire tax. As of 1976 it was the only volunteer department remaining in Hamilton County. Much the same story tells of the beginning of the New Burlington Fire Department. The New Burlington operation began in 1965 with a leased pumper stored in a local service station. Over time equipment and buildings were added along with its Life Squad.
Township police protection began in 1961 with the appointment of William Hafer as the first constable, Until then the township was patrolled by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office. This operation quickly was expanded and two additional officers were added in 1963. In that same year the Ohio Legislature enacted a law allowing creation of township police districts and in 1964 the police district was created. By 1976 the force had grown to 20 officeres and 8 civilian employees.
The story of Springfield Township continues to evolve. Population patterns shift as communities age and become more ethnically and racially diverse. Farm land has essentially disappeared being replaced by more streets, homes and businesses. The basic needs of township residents have expanded to include many more schools and open space for recreation. Some traditions remain; a sense of community and optimism about the future for themselves and their children.