TheOldLibrarian: the guidebook calls Springfield The Metropolis of Western Massachusetts. In 1937 it had a population of 149, 642, having been settled in 1636. It ...lies on the east bank of the Connecticut River, holding a strategic position in the traffic of the New England states with New York and the West. Its situation on a series of terraces and in gently rolling country produces an effect of spacious leisure... Also noted are its diversified industries, among them then Springfield Armory, still there as a museum.
The region was at the center of the post Revolutionary War event known as Shay's Rebellion, and the Springfield Armory ...became Shay's Waterloo when an attempt to capture the United States Arsenal was frustrated.
An industrial center for much of its history, Springfield served as a business site for two years in the 1840s for John Brown, who ran a wool warehouse here for a time, and had such visitors as Frederick Douglass.
Largescale immigration in the post Civil War era created a very diverse ethnic mix in Springfield of Irish, Italians, Russians, French-Canadians and Poles among others.