This park is named after the surrounding neighborhood of Springfield Gardens which was originally known as “Spring Fields” because of its system of natural ponds and creeks. These resources proved attractive to Dutch settlers, who first arrived in the 1640s. The irrigation system they created was used initially to supply water for crops and later incorporated into the city’s water system, until the ponds became polluted. By 1700 Spring Fields was a small farm hamlet composed of a number of scattered homes assembled around dirt roads. In the mid-1800s all of southeastern Queens contained only about 2,000 residents, and because of its sparse population it suffered from a lack of basic services, such as sewers and utilities.