Guest Author - Sarah Roop
Who of us out there has not heard of Superman? He has been an American icon for more than 75 years and counting. His home planet of Krypton was destroyed and he was sent to Earth by his parents so that he could survive. All this is common knowledge, but did you know that he has an official hometown here in the Midwest?
The small town of Metropolis Illinois was made the “Official Hometown of Superman” on June 9, 1972 by DC Comics. That year a multi-million dollar Superman themed amusement part was planned, but when the gas shortage caused national turmoil, they were forced to abandon the project. In 1972 they put up a seven foot tall fiberglass replica of Superman, it was, however, soon vandalized as the real “Man of Steel” might be impervious to bullets, but his fiberglass replica was not. It was not replaced until 1993, when they put up a 15 foot tall bronze statue of Superman, still standing proudly to this day.
The town has a festival the second full week of June every year, celebrating their own home town hero. This small festival has grown over the years to bring in over 30,000 visitors annually. There is something for everyone, from a car show to an art sale, and of course, lots of Superman themed activities.
If this isn’t enough to impress you though, they also have one of the largest collections of Superman memorabilia in the world. The Super Museum, which opened in 1993 by Jim Hambrick, started as a travelling show. Jim has been collecting Superman memorabilia since he was 5 years old. His collection started with a lunchbox his mother bought him. He now has over 20,000 Superman related items on display, with over 100,000 owned, making it possible to change out the displays frequently. Jim moved his extensive collection from California to Metropolis in order to give it a permanent home.
Some of the items in this impressive collection are the Power Crystals from the 1978 movie starring Christopher Reeve, the two original costumes worn by George Reeves, and , and some of the dresses worn by Lois Lane. There is also a gift shop so you will not have to leave empty handed. Once inspired by this wonderful collection you can either start your own, or expand your existing collection.
This wonderful, small town is well worth a quick stop on your way through, or you may want to plan a weekend getaway and stay for the festival. There is no shortage of lodging, ranging from budget hotels to a Harrah’s Casino. So whether you are a Super Fan or just wanting to see what all the fuss is about, you will have a great time in this small Illinois home town.