The county seat (1887, 4,365 feet) was named for Springfield, Missouri, home of some early settlers. The town is small and growing smaller with agricultural hard times. Once a thriving producer of broom corn, Springfield now houses about a third of Baca County's 4,500 residents. It became the birthplace for the militant American Agricultural Movement during the 1970s after the foreclosure auction of co-founder Jerry Wright's farm attracted 250 angry protestors and national television coverage of a near-riot.
Native sandstone used in several buildings comes from The Cedars Quarry near the Las Animas County line, southwest of Pritchett. This stone is the basis for a masonry tradition throughout the southeast corner of the state dating from early Anglo settlement and extending through the WPA projects of the 1930s and 1940s. The honey-to-rust-colored stone has been used to build in both rough fieldstone and quarried and polished blocks. “Welcome to Springfield” is painted on the 200-foot-tall water tank in the block-square city park, where an antique tractor takes the place of the usual cannon.
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