Springfield Park

Springfield Park

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

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.

What had been a lack of community services for the residents of Spring Fields in the early 1900s was remedied 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. The Post Office renamed the area ‘Springfield Gardens’ in 1927, and the Long Island Railroad renamed their station accordingly shortly thereafter.

The New York City Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity acquired this land, enclosed by Springfield Boulevard to the east, 145th Road to the north and 183rd Street to the west, in the late 19th century. In 1932, the construction of the Springfield Boulevard sewer destroyed the pond, which the City filled in for use as the site of this park. In 1964 a resolution adopted by the City Board of Estimate assigned full rights to Parks over former water supply lands, including Springfield Park.

The park has survived changing attitudes of zoning and land use, including a proposal by the City in 1970 to convert the park into an industrial complex. Jamaica Assembly Member Guy R. Brewer and community associations successfully lobbied for the maintenance of the park as a recreational area.

In June 1999, an $867,000 reconstruction of a playground within the park on the corner of 147th Avenue and 184th Street, sponsored by Councilmember Juanita E. Watkins, was completed. Springfield Park currently contains two full-size basketball courts, two baseball diamonds, two tennis courts, swings, a spray shower, play equipment with safety surfacing, benches, a flagpole with a yardarm, and a central pond with two bridges.

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