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Of, for and by the people.

The first governing bodies of the new community met in the home of founder John Polk Campbell. When Springfield was selected as the county seat of the then widespread Greene County in 1835, a courthouse was first built in the center of the square. It was replaced in 1861 by another structure on the northwest corner of College Street and the square. This structure served government until 1912 when the present courthouse at Boonville Ave. and Central St. was occupied.

City government was housed for about 40 years in a building near the southeast corner of Boonville and Central, before it moved to the third floor of the new courthouse in 1912. The present city hall was built as a new federal building and post office in 1894 and was converted to city use when the federal agencies moved into the present Federal Building nearby, built in 1938. The imposing older structure is now an official historic site.

Until 1915, Springfield was served by the mayor-council type of government. In 1915, this was replaced by the commission form, because voters charged the old system was inefficient and lacked control. In 1953, voters approved a new charter and a council-manager form of government, which operated without much change until the charter was amended to provide for the direct election of the mayor in 1979.

County attorneys gather for the last time in the second courthouse on the square before the move to a new building at Central Street and Boonville Avenue (below) in 1912.
Office of the City Commissioner of Revenue in the courthouse, 1917.
A Federal Building, 1894-1938; City Hall, 1938 to present.
Members of the first City Council elected under a charter change to the council-manager form of government in 1953 were Stanley Rousch, L.H. Turner, Rev. Roswell Flowers, Ralph Thieme, Mayor W.L. English, Warren Turner, Dr. Souter Smith, Joe Ben Wann and Carl Stillwell. They are being sworn in by City Clerk Don Kelly.
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