Springfield is the third and current capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,352 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2010). Just over 208,000 residents live in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County. Present day Springfield was first settled in the late 1810s, around the time Illinois became a state. The most famous past resident is Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield itself from 1837 until he went to the White House in 1861. Major tourist attractions include a multitude of historic sites connected with Lincoln. In 1908 a large race riot erupted in the city which culminated in the lynching of two African American residents and led to the founding of the NAACP.
The city lies on a mostly flat plain which encompasses much of the surrounding countryside. There is more hilly terrain near the Sangamon River. Lake Springfield, a large man-made lake, owned by a local public utility company called CWLP, supplies the city with recreation and drinking water. Weather is fairly typical for middle latitude locations, with hot summers and cold winters. Spring and summer weather is like that of most midwestern cities; severe thunderstorms are common. On March 12, 2006 two tornadoes touched down in the city, and caused extensive damage. They were the first to hit the city since June 14, 1957.
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