Watershops and the Mill River
The Mill River provided the power for many early Springfield industries, including Springfield Armory starting in 1795. Watershops Pond, created by the Armory's dam is a defining feature of Springfield. Today, the Watershops complex is privately owned and utilized by many smaller businesses. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For historical information, click here to download a fact sheet (PDF, 650KB)
Located across Federal Street from Armory Square (Springfield Armory National Historic Site), Federal Square was an imporant site throughout the Armory's history. The site was the location of the Continental Powder Magazine and Ordnance Yard during the American Revolution and the site of a pitched battle during Shays' Rebellion in 1787. Beginning in the 1890s. the site was transformed into a major manufacturing site for Springfield Armory. The world-famous M1 rifle was manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility, Building 104, ensuring that the US soldier had the most superior rifle as the country entered the Second World War. Today, the site is a successful commercial site, training facility, and small business incubator.
For more information on Building 104, click here to download a fact sheet (PDF, 107KB)
Quabbin ReservoirQuabbin Reservoir was constructed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the late 1930s to increase fresh water supply for the City of Boston and other towns. The US Army and Springfield Armory maintained a testing facility on the southern end of the Reservoir after the Second World War. Today, the site is being reclaimed, but vestiges of the facility can still be seen. The area is now one of the best areas in the state to find Bald Eagles and other wildlife.
The railhead on Page Boulevard was the site of a major test facility for Springfield Armory, and also the primary point of arrival for raw materials and other supplies needed for manufacturing operations. Major weapons systems, including the M61 Vulcan were tested and evaluated at this site. Today, the site is owned and operated by Smith & Wesson.
Did You Know?
Author Charles Dickens toured Springfield Armory’s Hill Shops and Water Shops on his 30th birthday, February 7th, 1842, a year before publication of A Christmas Carol. The first of two visits to America, he and his wife were accompanied by the superintendent and the paymaster. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.