Springfield Armory - Closure and Rebirth As A National Park (1968-present)

Closure and Rebirth As A National Park (1968-present)

In a controversial personal and political decision, in 1968—during the Vietnam War—U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced the shutting-down of the Springfield Armory. For over two centuries the bluff overlooking the Connecticut River had been the most important place for the invention and manufacture of U.S. Military firearms. The Springfield Armory had evolved from a facility where skilled craftsmen built, piece by piece, one musket at a time, into a center that pioneered mass production techniques and modern business practices, and then finally into an internationally renowned institute for weapons research and development. It had fulfilled all of General George Washington's and Henry Knox's hopes for it, and then some.

The Springfield Armory is now a museum run by the National Park Service and called the Springfield Armory National Park & National Historic Site. As of 2011, the 35-acres behind the Springfield Armory (and several of its former buildings) house Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). STCC is the only "technical" community college in Massachusetts, and aims to continue the legacy of technological innovation at the Springfield Armory site.

The Main Arsenal Building and the Commandants House were extensively renovated by Eastern General Contractors of Springfield, MA between 1987 and 1991.

As of 2011, the Springfield Armory's current National Park superintendent Quijano-West says that the Springfield Armory will feature longer summer hours and guided tours on the weekends. All designed, he says, to help build interest in the historical site he calls a "gem" of American history. "Springfield Armory is a significant, inspirational and unique treasure," he says, "it's a shrine of our country. And a story we'd like to share with even more visitors."

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