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Pooler Magazine

Put a Spring in Your Step with a Visit to Springfield

Put a Spring in Your Step with a Visit to Springfield
๐„๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ฆ ๐‚๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ฒ ๐’๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐…๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ ๐๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐”๐ง๐ข๐ช๐ฎ๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐’๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ง ๐‚๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ฆ

๐’๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐›๐ฒ ๐‚๐ฅ๐š๐ข๐ซ๐ž ๐’๐š๐ง๐๐จ๐ฐ

Springfield has a captivating Southern charm thatโ€™s just a short drive from Chatham and Bryan Counties. The city has developed into a quaint and friendly destination for a weekend of shopping, food, entertainment and of course, local food.

The community is the Effingham County seat and boasts a population just under 3,000 residents. Established in 1799 and named after a mineral spring, the city was incorporated in 1838. The most pivotal decision that shapes its current form was made in the late 1980s with the expansion of Highway 21, then known as the Savannah River Parkway. The original route was proposed to pass directly through downtown Springfield, widening Laurel Street to four lanes. To preserve the cityโ€™s historic buildings, city leadership decided that a bypass would be a better option.

โ€œHaving the bypass built around the city was the best thing that could have been done because it created the environment that we have now,โ€ says Erin Phillips, Springfield Planning and Development Director.

 However, the rerouting of the highway had some initial drawbacks. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Laurel Street businesses experienced a decline as drivers used the bypass to reach the northern part of Effingham County rather than driving through downtown.

In 2010, a group of downtown Springfield business owners created a merchantsโ€™ association to find solutions for the challenges facing their businesses. They banded together to market their establishments to a larger audience and attract people to the area. To fundraise, they held car shows, sold concessions at Old Effingham Days and founded their biggest legacy: the annual Springfield Fall Festival. The proceeds generated from events would go toward group ad purchases and coordinated marketing campaigns to bring guests to their businesses.

The Springfield Downtown Development Authority was established in 2016 and built upon the progress made by the merchantsโ€™ association and the Springfield Revitalization Corporation to revitalize the historic downtown while preserving its character. Some of the goals of the DDA include promoting business growth downtown, offering faรงade grants and supporting downtown events.  

Laurel Street is the cityโ€™s main thoroughfare and is home to numerous locally owned businesses. One of the cityโ€™s first revitalization projects was to embark upon a streetscape project to improve Laurel Streetโ€™s walkability by improving the sidewalks, adding landscaped islands and streetlights and more organized street parking.

โ€œIt really creates a better environment to feel more comfortable as a pedestrian and makes a positive impact on the businesses who are dependent on the pedestrians,โ€ says Phillips.

This increased support has drawn more people to invest in Springfield. The Co-Op Business Center opened last year, housing the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce and creating office space for entrepreneurs. Within the last few years, several building facades have gotten facelifts. An old gas station has been converted into a restaurant and a former HVAC company building has become home to an event space and photography and videography company. There has also been interest in new construction and adding some second-floor apartments above businesses.

โ€œWe are finally seeing people that want to build new structures downtown, which we havenโ€™t seen in decades,โ€ says Phillips. โ€œWeโ€™ve been working on our ordinances and our guidelines and things so that the new infill development can look like it fits in.โ€


Springfield is an antique loverโ€™s paradise. Youโ€™ll find Aunt Tinkieโ€™s Antiques and Thrift Shop, Antique, Unique, & Shabby Chic and Miss Mableโ€™s Mercantile within a few blocks. For some more modern finds, boutiques like Carlson & Co. are a great place to find a cute outfit.


Diverse dining options have continued to open their doors in Springfield. Central Station Bakery & Eatery serves sandwiches, salads and sides alongside signature cakes and cheesecakes. Paddles Coffee serves breakfast, lunch and pastries that complement their coffee creations. As the city has grown, more restaurants have started serving dinner. Flacoโ€™s House fills a niche for authentic Mexican tacos, tortas, quesadillas and more, and Stonerโ€™s Pizza Joint slings pies that have made them a fixture around the region.

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐†๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐Ž๐ฎ๐ญ๐๐จ๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ

Ulmer Park is Springfieldโ€™s green space and a popular gathering place for special events. A new walking trail surrounds the perimeter of the park, and plans are in the works to add a new playground, new bathrooms, additional parking options and resurfacing for the tennis and pickleball courts.

โ€œEventually weโ€™re going to build a large pavilion or amphitheater there,โ€ says Phillips. โ€œWeโ€™re still workshopping how big it needs to be and what sort of impact itโ€™s going to have on the community. Itโ€™s something that weโ€™re really excited about.โ€

Not far from the heart of downtown Springfield is Ebenezer Creek, a perfect place to paddle a kayak and enjoy some breathtaking views of cypress trees, Spanish moss and tranquil waters.

๐’๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐Ž๐œ๐œ๐š๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ

With the addition of event venues like the rustic yet modern Moncrief Square and the colonial-style 13 Stars Tavern, Springfield can set the stage for a wedding, corporate event or private party. Daisy Maeโ€™s is also a popular space for small luncheons, bridal or baby showers.

๐๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž

Much like historic Savannah, you can take your beverage to-go in parts of downtown Springfield. Between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, take advantage of the cityโ€™s sip and stroll ordinance in sections of Laurel Street and around Ulmer Park.

The Mars Theatre is one of downtown Springfieldโ€™s crown jewels. Built in 1945, the theatre thrived with daily showings and a central location in the county. But the rise of television led the theatre to close in 1957. Throughout the 1990s, the Springfield Revitalization Corporation worked to raise funds to restore the theatre to its former glory. In 2007, the group of devoted Springfield citizens partnered with the city to begin renovating the venue while preserving its mid-century charm. Today, the theatre shows first-run movies, classic films and hosts a vibrant roster of musical talent.

On the first Friday of each month, Springfield welcomes food trucks to the streets. Select first Fridays are designated First Friday Family Nights, featuring live music, showings at the Mars Theatre, kidsโ€™ activities and scavenger hunts that encourage guests to support local businesses.

๐…๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ฌ & ๐„๐ฏ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ

Every November, the Springfield Fall Festival attracts guests downtown with live music, vendors and family activities. In April, the Old Effingham Festival features American Revolution and Civil War reenactments and demonstrations of historic crafts, and the Springfield Century Ride guides avid cyclists through a route that highlights several historic Effingham County communities. The Springfield Fall 5K Series showcases the beauty of downtown Springfield with creative themes and routes that start and end at Ulmer Park.


History buffs wonโ€™t want to miss the Effingham Living History Museum, which displays Native American artifacts and historic pieces dating from the American Revolution and the Civil War. The museum is housed inside an old jail that was built in 1934.

With so many businesses across a few blocks, Springfield is a perfect day trip destination with Hallmark movie charm. Take a stroll through town, peruse the shops, grab a delicious meal or catch a show!