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Recognized as the "Birthplace of US Route 66", in 1926 officials of Springfield first proposed the name of the Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway. It was the first completely paved United States numbered highway stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast. Sitting in the state of Missouri, Springfield was founded in 1830. Home to the Missouri State University, Drury University and Evangel University, it is an important historical area of the American Civil War with the most pristine battle site in the country, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. Referred to as "Where the South Begins", the town was the site for the shootout between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt, also a mob lynching of 2 black men in 1906. The infamous mobster John Gotti died in Springfield in 2002 and the town has been home to many famous country music singers over the years.
With 92 parks to explore, it is the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast. You can hike or mountain bike around trails dotted with creek beds and springs amidst some of nature's stunning bounty. There are 6 lakes within the vicinity of the town and the James and Finley Rivers are the places to head for some canoeing or fishing. The Busiek State Forest is the ideal place to go camping in the wild, whilst the Ozark National Scenic Riverways will leave you gob smacked upon seeing its crystal clear streams to wallow in. The downtown area of Springfield offers a plethora of cafes, bars, music venues, historic theaters and plenty of shops to poke around in.
The organic food movement has taken hold of the town's culinary scene. You will find 3 craft breweries to tempt you, natural food stores, 5 farmers' markets to explore and a chocolate factory for the sweet tooth. Whatever you do, make sure you indulge in some of the local cashew chicken that is an iconic dish in Springfield.
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