Springfield is the third largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 159,498. As of 2019, the Census Bureau estimated its population at 167,882. It is the principal city of the Springfield metropolitan area, which has a population of 462,369 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, and Webster.
Springfield's nickname is "Queen City of the Ozarks" as well as "The 417" after the area code for the city. It is also known as the "Birthplace of Route 66". It is home to three universities, Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University.
The origin of the city's name is unclear, but the most common view is that it was named for Springfield, Massachusetts by migrants from that area. One account holds that James Wilson, who lived in the then unnamed city, offered free whiskey to anyone who would vote for the name Springfield, after his hometown in Massachusetts.
The editor of the Springfield Express, J. G. Newbill, said in the November 11, 1881 issue:
"It has been stated that this city got its name from the fact of a spring and field being near by just west of town. But such is not a correct version. When the authorized persons met and adopted the title of the "Future Great" of the Southwest, several of the earliest settlers had handed in their favorite names, among whom was Kindred Rose, who presented the winning name, "Springfield," in honor of his former home town, Springfield, Tennessee."
In 1883, historian R. I. Holcombe wrote:
"The town took its name from the circumstance of there being a spring under the hill, on the creek, while on top of the hill, where the principal portion of the town lay, there was a field."
The presence of the Native Americans in the area slowed the European-American settlement of the land.