As I watched my local news last night on WSIL TV, I discovered that one of my favorite towns, Metropolis, Illinois was to be featured on the Travel Channel. Residents in southern Illinois have long known about Metropolis and its delightful obsession with the Man of Steel. Soon the world will know because the Travel Channel has discovered this little gem of a town. Extreme Towns sent a crew to investigate the home of Superman on Monday and the town is no doubt hoping the exposure will give the little town of about 6400 perched on the banks of the Ohio River a tourism boost. The show, set to air Friday, October 8, 2010, at 5:30 AM, will do about a five minute segment on the show featuring unique towns around the world.
Metropolis has a recorded history that dates back to the mid-1700s when the French, engaged in the French and Indian war, built the first of several forts on the site of what is now Fort Massac State Park. The forts and the surrounding area changed hands several times until in 1778 the entire area of Illinois was won by George Rogers Clark in a victory at Kaskaskia.
Today, Metropolis is thriving community, due in no small part to the fame of its fictional son. In January of 1972, DC Comics established the fictional city of Metropolis as Superman’s hometown. Acting quickly, the city decided to run with the idea and in June of the same year the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572 that declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman.”
From there, the love of all things Superman has grown within the town’s borders. One doesn’t have to look far for signs of Superman’s presence because the town has embraced it. This could not be more evident than during the second week of June when the annual Superman Celebration takes over the city. Stars of television and movies flock to the celebration and fans can chat with them, get autographs and have their pictures taken. Read more about a recent Superman Celebration here.
There is a Superman museum that commemorates everything to do with Superman. And in 1993 the town erected a statue in honor of the crime fighter in the town square.
Metropolis also offers the Americana museum which features all manner of American movie memorabilia. The community has paid homage to its past with a series of murals done by local artists. These can be found on the sides of buildings in the downtown section. Each mural depicts a different aspect of life in Metropolis over its long history. For those with different tastes, there is Harrah’s Metropolis Casino.
And of course there is Fort Massac State Park with its reconstructed fort. The park holds an annual encampment and reenactment each year to bring history to life. Camping, hiking and picnicking are available. The visitor’s center has information on the fort’s past.
Soon the world will know about this southern Illinois gem, when the Travel Channel takes this extreme town and puts it on the map.
Superman Celebration – Metropolis, IL
Metropolis Murals Make the Most of History (Sliedshow)
Metropolis Murals Mark History
Americana Hollywood Museum in Metropols Illinois (Slideshow)
The Americana Hollywood Museum and Gift Shop in Metropolis Illinois
Fort Massac brings history to life
Source: Personal Viewing of News, Personally Visitied sites mentioned