How Accurate Are These 19 Real-Life Springfields Compared To ‘The Simpsons?

Is there a real Springfield? If so, where? It has been long debated between fans of The Simpsons whether or not the Springfield featured in the show is based upon a real place. They’ll scour through Google Maps to locate each and every Springfield in the United States only to find that none have all the geographical landmarks to make the Springfield of fiction. Maybe one will have a nuclear powerplant, the other a monorail. One will be by the ocean, but maybe another will be near a heavily-forested lake. None, however, will have everything–but that’s the point.

The Springfield of The Simpsons is both nowhere and everywhere. It’s an amalgamation of everything and anything it needs to be. It’s a representation of Anytown, USA where everyone who is watching can see themselves living in and relate to.

That, however, does not mean the fictional Springfield does not pull inspiration from real Springfields around the United States. Whether that be landmarks, history, or municipal functions every Springfield does, indeed, share some similarities with that of The Simpsons.

1. Springfield, Kansas

Springfield, Kansas

Photo: Fox

This Springfield is officially lost to time. Once the seat of Seward County, the town was officially vacated 1897 after it failed to secure a much needed railroad to connect it to the outside world. All that’s left now is a historical marker and a rest area at the junction of US highways 160 and US 83.

The Simpsonian Springfield, on the other hand, nearly suffered total ruin when they built a railroad they didn’t need – or rather, a Monorail system sold to the town by Lyle Lanley, a huckster who knows to play off the town’s weakness for a catchy song in “Marge vs. The Monorail.” This episode marks the first of two guest appearances by Leonard Nimoy.

2. Springfield, Arkansas

Springfield, Arkansas

Photo: Fox

This Springfield was once home to Arkansas House of Representatives member Rick Beck, who has been actively sponsoring initiatives typically associated with the Republican party (of which Beck is a member), including proposing many laws that loosen current regulations on gun ownership and conceal-and-carry licenses. Laws such as these have been cropping up over the last several years, all of them geared toward making it even easier to obtain a firearm in this country.

The Simpsons lampooned America’s gun-craze in “The Cartridge Family,” in which Homer successfully purchases a gun despite having been in a mental institution, having frequent problems with alcohol, having beat up former president George H.W. Bush and being labelled “Potentially Dangerous” by the gun store owner (which means Homer is limited to purchasing three guns total).

3. Springfield, California

Springfield, California

Photo: Fox

This Springfield is most notable for being a former California Gold Rush boomtown. According to the town’s entry on the Government of California Office of Historic Preservation website, “During the town’s heyday, 150 miners’ carts could be seen on the road, hauling gold-bearing dirt to Springfield springs for washing.”

This abundance of gold brings to mind The Simpsons episode “A Tale of Two Springfields,” in which the town actually splits into two separate communities, Old and New Springfield. During a fierce rivalry between the towns, Homer, as Mayor of New Springfield, drains the water supply, revealing numerous gold nuggets in the now empty riverbed. This makes the citizens of Old Springfield wealthier than they already were, prompting them to purchase the Evian bottling plant, thus resolving their water shortage. Note too that at one time, the streets of fictional Springfield were paved in gold, according to Grandpa Simpson and his friend Jasper in “$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling).”

4. Springfield, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon

Photo: Fox

You’ll find quite a few similarities between the Simpsons’ home and this real-life city. A few years back, series creator Matt Groening revealed that the fictional Springfield was based on this town in Oregon, near his hometown of Portland. There’s a bar there called Max’s which is rumored to be the basis for Moe’s, complete with a large jar of pickled eggs on the bar and an architecturally similar exterior. Gizmodo writer Jesus Diaz points out a few other locations that have animated correlations, such as the town’s nearby lake, a baseball card shop (a portion of Comic Book Guy’s store also focuses on sports memorabilia), and a convenience store that bears a striking resemblance to the Kwik-E-Mart.

While many sources point out that there isn’t a nuclear power plant nearby, this wasn’t always the case. Though closer to Ranier, Oregon than Springfield, there was the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, the only commercial plant ever built. Despite only featuring one cooling tower instead of two, Trojan looked a lot like Mr. Burns’s plant on The Simpsons.

5. Springfield, Maine

Springfield, Maine

Photo: Fox

While this Springfield is nowhere near the ocean, the fictional Springfield is shown to be right next to it. Whether or not it’s the Pacific or the Atlantic remains to be seen, but if the availability of American lobsters – otherwise known as Maine lobsters – is any indication, then the Simpsons’ home is likely on the East Coast.

In the episode “Lisa Gets an ‘A‘”, Homer attempts to fatten up his own Maine lobster, but he names the animal Mr. Pinchy and ends up falling in love with him. However, when he accidentally cooks Pinchy in the bathtub, Homer eats his pet anyway (though he sobs the entire time).

6. Springfield, Colorado

Springfield, Colorado

Photo: Fox

Springfield serves as the county seat of Baca county, an area in southeast Colorado that features abundant wildlife, including brown bears. While this particular animal doesn’t generally show itself in populated areas, in 2006 a brown bear scaled to the top of a telephone highline pole in nearby Walsh and created quite a stir, luring a crowd of onlookers, according to Springfield publication The Baca Weekly.

The citizens of Walsh behaved rationally toward this rare sight, but the decidedly irrational Springfielders of The Simpsons lost their collective mind when a brown bear wandered into their town in the episode “Much Apu About Nothing,” prompting Mayor Quimby to create a Bear Patrol task force, complete with trucks monitoring the town’s perimeters day and night for any signs of bears in the vicinity.

7. Springfield, Florida

Springfield, Florida

Photo: Fox

Situated in the greater Panama City metropolitan area, this Springfield serves as a home for military personal stationed at nearby Tyndall Air Force Base, infrequent host of the Gulf Coast Salute Air Show.

This brings to mind the blandly titled U.S. Air Force Base featured on The Simpsons, which hosts an airshow in the episode “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming,” much to the titular character’s consternation (quoth Bob: “Air show? Buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke in their whiz-jets to the strains of ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane?’ What kind of country-fried rube is still impressed by that?”).

8. Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida

Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida

Photo: Fox

Technically this Springfield is a neighborhood within Jacksonville, Florida, but it’s large enough to constitute a town in and of itself, featuring historic attractions, cafés, and gorgeous architecture. Many of these impressive constructions are Masonic temples, including the imposing Scottish Rites Masonic Center and the mansion-turned Mason meeting place Solomon Lodge.

In the episode “Homer The Great,” Homer becomes “The Chosen One” of the Stonecutters secret society, a spoof of Freemasonry. As one might expect, hilarity ensues. Note guest star Patrick Stewart as Number One, the leader of the Stonecutters, who wield their awesome power to give themselves perks and make Steve Guttenberg a star.

9. Springfield, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Photo: Fox

Illinois’s Springfield shares numerous features with the fictional Simpsons town: its own local TV stations, minor league sports teams, and a much-heralded former citizen whose memory is honored by monuments (Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, IL, Jebediah Springfield on The Simpsons, though Lincoln did not found Springfield).

Another famous person from the real Springfield is diplomat and former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson. In reality Stevenson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Burlington, IL, but he is shown buried in Springfield’s cemetery in “Lisa The Iconoclast,” during the scene where members of the Historical Society exhume Jebediah Springfield in search of a silver tongue that would prove he was, in fact, murderous pirate Hans Sprungfeld. Strangely, Stevenson’s headstone features an eternal flame, which Groundskeeper Willie accidentally extinguishes while digging up Springfield’s founder (the real headstone in Burlington does not feature such a flame).

10. Springfield, LaPorte County, Indiana

Springfield, LaPorte County, Indiana

Photo: Fox

This township near Michigan City, Indiana, is situated right on the Indiana-Michigan border and has a population of a little over 4,000 people. As such, it relies on the services of a volunteer fire department located in Michigan City.

The fictional Springfield – with a population much larger than 4,000 – sports a combination paid and volunteer fleet. The latter category of firefighters pop up frequently throughout the series, with Moe, Apu, and Principal Skinner as just a few of its recurring members. They are prominently featured in “Homer the Heretic” and later in “Crook and Ladder,” an episode that actually retcons Springfield’s existing volunteer fire department when Homer and some of his pals become fill-ins while the paid firefighters recuperate from an accident (a continuity error the Comic Book Guy would no doubt point out).

11. Springfield, Kentucky

Springfield, Kentucky

Photo: Fox

Jokingly revealed as the location of the Simpson family’s home in “Behind the Laughter” (among several other US towns), this Springfield is notable for being the birthplace of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, parents of Abraham Lincoln, who would go on to live in Springfield, IL before moving on to Washington D.C. But as far as more direct correlations to The Simpsons go, this Springfield has quite a few connections, detailed in this Associated Press article by Dylan T. Lovan from 2007, when the Kentucky town attempted to win a bid to host The Simpsons Movie premiere by producing a video comparing the two towns. Of the similarities listed between Springfield, KY and the Simpsons’ hometown, one stood out. According to Reuters, “The film’s producer, Michael Breeding, claimed an episode in which Bart beheads a statue of the town founder [“The Telltale Head“] was based on events in Kentucky when a war veteran statue was vandalized.” This is in reference to the World War I monument outside the Washington County courthouse. Kentucky eventually lost the premiere bid, with the honors going to Springfield, Vermont, a town which doesn’t really resemble the fictional Springfield in any notable way.

12. Springfield, Louisiana

Springfield, Louisiana

Photo: Fox

Recently, the town of Springfield, Louisiana ran into some trouble with their chief of police and mayor, who were indicted on corruption charges over the felonious reduction of an unnamed woman’s DWI charge. It is a long-running joke on The Simpsons that their Mayor Joe Quimby and Chief of Police Clancy Wiggum are about as corrupt as they get, and are often in-cahoots. Take for instance the episode “Radioactive Man,” where Quimby and Wiggum are seen extorting a Hollywood filmmaker for not wearing “puffy director’s pants.”

13. Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

Photo: Fox

American legend Jonathan Chapman, known later as Johnny Appleseed, spent several childhood years here. According to Wayne Phaneuf of local paper The Republican (online as MassLive), “The boy [Appleseed] grew up with an abiding love for plants and animals. He spent many summers working in the Springfield orchards of a man named Crawford.” Another apple enthusiast calls fictional Springfield his home: Ned Flanders, who in the episode “Burns, Baby Burns” reveals that he always purchases a season pass to the nearby Mt. Swartzwelder Historic Cider Mill because it “pays for itself after the sixteenth visit.” He also gives Homer some solid advice on how to tell the difference between apple juice and apple cider: “If it’s clear and yella, you’ve got juice there fella; if it’s tangy and brown, you’re in cider town.”

14. Springfield, Michigan

Springfield, Michigan

Photo: Fox

Based on season two anyway, it was once feasible that this was the Springfield, about a two hour drive from Detroit, may have been the basis for the fictional town. That’s all due to the ease with which the Simpsons travel to the Motor City in the episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” in which the family tracks down Homer’s illegitimate half brother Herb Powell, who turns out to be the head of a prominent automobile company. Herb, in need of a car that will appeal to the common man, enlists Homer to design their next big hit. Of course, the results are disastrous.

15. Springfield, Minnesota

Springfield, Minnesota

Photo: Fox

The original name of this town was Burnstown, or Burns, named after founder J.F. Burns, who settled in the area in 1857 (changed to Springfield in 1881). One could imagine a similar scenario occurring in the fictional Simpsons town, as one of their most prominent citizens is C. Montgomery Burns, who owns the nuclear power plant and is offensively rich. Given his wealth, Mr. Burns wields considerable power (literally) in the town, and many times has proven himself above the law, as in the episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part I,” in which Burns siphons the local elementary school’s recently-discovered oil well and then blots out the sun with a giant disc without facing any legal ramifications (though as the title indicates, someone does gun Mr. Burns down).

16. Springfield, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Photo: Fox

Grandpa Simpson, when asked by Lisa in “Homer Badman” why there were only 49 stars on his American flag, said, “I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missoura.” His hatred for the 24th state is never explained. Perhaps he doesn’t like how similar Missouri’s Springfield is to his hometown. Ryan Nickum pointed out several similarities on his Estately real estate blog, including the presence of a minor league baseball team, the Springfield Cardinals (they’re the Isotopes in the Simpsons-verse). One thing Nickum fails to note, however, is that both Missouri and The Simpsons’ Springfields have art museums named Springfield Art Museum, and both have on permanent display Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup (Chicken Noodle).” In the episode “Mom and Pop Art,” Homer falls asleep in the museum and dreams Andy Warhol attacks him with his famous soup can.

17. Springfield, Nebraska

Springfield, Nebraska

Photo: Fox

Springfield, Nebraska has a storied history, which you can read all about over at the town website’s history page in an essay by Gertrude Smith. The piece concludes by looking away from the past and forward into Springfield’s future, declaring, “The pioneer-settler bequest of determination, hope and faith that these men had when they built Springfield, has been turned over to the people of the town… this gift of spirit will give Springfield her courage, enthusiasm and growth in the future.” Fictional Springfielders were also left with the wisdom of the past to help guide them throughout future endeavors. In “Lisa The Iconoclast,” local actor Troy McClure delivers these famous words while playing town founder Jebediah Springfield in a school film strip, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man!” (Ms. Krabapple states that she never heard the word “embiggens” before moving to Springfield, to which Ms. Hoover replies, “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”)

18. Springfield, New Hampshire

Springfield, New Hampshire

Photo: Fox

Rustic and remote best describes this New Hampshire town, with plenty of cabins tucked away around Kolelemook Lake and the heavily forested area. It’s exactly the kind of locale seen in “The War of the Simpsons,” which involves Homer and Marge traveling to a marriage retreat at the urging of Reverend Lovejoy. Believing the endeavor to be pointless, Homer agrees to the retreat only so that he can catch a legendary giant cat fish rumored to occupy the lake. When he realizes, however, that his marriage does need some serious help, Homer abandons the idea; unfortunately, he’s dragged under water by the catfish.

19. Springfield, Ohio

Springfield, Ohio

Photo: Fox

This Springfield once bore the unfortunate title of third least healthiest city in America, according to a national survey released in 2011. Still, compared to some of the rankings held by the fictional Springfield, this Ohio town should consider itself lucky. In the episode “New Kid on the Block,” Ruth Powers says she had misgivings about moving to Springfield because of a Time magazine cover story titled “America’s Worst City” (to which Marge replies, “You could see our house in that photo!”). Also, in the episode “Summer of 4 Ft. 2,” Newsweek names Springfield “America’s Crud-bucket.” And finally, in “Sweets and Sour Marge,” the citizens of Springfield attempt to set a world record for biggest human pyramid, but inadvertently gain a different distinction: World’s Fattest Town.