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Springfield has several nicknames – "The City of Firsts", due to the many innovations developed there, such as the first American dictionary, the first American gas-powered automobile, and the first machining lathe for interchangeable parts; "The City of Homes", due to its Victorian residential architecture; and "Hoop City", as basketball – one of the world's most popular sports – was invented in Springfield in 1891 by James Naismith.Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, lies 24 miles (39 km) south of Springfield, on the western bank of the Connecticut River.The Hartford-Springfield region is known as the Knowledge Corridor because it hosts over 160,000 university students and over 32 universities and liberal arts colleges – the second-highest concentration of higher-learning institutions in the United States.The city of Springfield itself is home to Springfield College, Western New England University, American International College, and Springfield Technical Community College, among other higher educational institutions.

During that attack, three-quarters of the original settlement was burned to the ground, with many of Springfield's residents survived by taking refuge in John Pynchon's brick house, the "Old Fort", the first such house to be built in the Connecticut River Valley.

Aside from its rivers, Springfield's second most prominent topographical feature is the city's 735-acre (297 ha) Forest Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Forest Park lies in the southwestern corner of the city, surrounded by Springfield's attractive garden districts, Forest Park and Forest Park Heights, which feature over 600 Victorian Painted Lady mansions.

Springfield, like other cities in southern New England, has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa) with four distinct seasons and precipitation evenly distributed throughout the year.

Winters are cold with a daily average in January of around 26 °F (−3 °C).

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