Springfield Park North
Springfield Park North
This park shares its name with the much larger Springfield Park to its south, a site named after the surrounding neighborhood of Springfield Gardens. An enticing settlement area because of its richness in natural resources, Springfield Gardens remained largely agricultural until the Long Island Rail Road extended to this community, stimulating rapid residential development. Today the park provides recreational facilities for both students in J.H.S. 231 and local residents.
The current area of Springfield Gardens 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 was initially used to supply water for crops and later was 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 amounted to about 2000 residents, and because of its sparse population it suffered from a lack of basic services, such as sewers and utilities.
The lack of community services turned around for the residents of Spring Fields in the early 1900s when the Long Island Rail Road built a station here, causing an impressive real estate boom. By 1924 Spring Fields’ population of 5,000 was living in about 1,200 single-family homes. Dozens of additional streets were built during the 1920s and 1930s, as were hundreds of houses, causing the population to increase to approximately 15,000 by the late 1930s. Many of these new residents were Brooklynites looking for a getaway in the suburbs. The Post Office renamed the area ‘Springfield Gardens’ in 1927, and the Long Island Railroad renamed their station accordingly shortly thereafter. In 1932, the construction of the Springfield Boulevard sewer destroyed the pond, which the city filled in for use as the site of Springfield Park to the south of this site.
The City acquired the land for this park in 1959, opening as J.H.S. 231 Playground in November 1963. Today the park is jointly operated by Parks and the Board of Education, and it was renamed by Commissioner Stern in 1985. It contains two basketball half-courts in a large concrete play area, benches, four handball courts, and a flagpole with a yardarm.