A few days ago in search of a nice place to view the up-come Total Solar Eclipse (in the United States), I traveled to the quaint town of Chester, Illinois, to scout out some area of interest for the best view of totality. I found a few cool places to hang out, but what is really cool about Chester, is that it’s the Home of Popeye The Sailor! Yes!
Chester is the “Home of Popeye,” where a 6-foot (1.8 m), 900-pound (410 kg) bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man stands in the Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park, which honors Popeye’s creator, Elzie Segar. The park is located next to the Chester Bridge.
Several of Mr. Segar’s characters were created from experiences with people of Chester. Chester’s big event is its annual Popeye Picnic and parade, held the weekend after Labor Day. Popeye fans travel from all over the United States and the world to partake in the weekend activities. Most of the events and entertainment are free and family friendly.
New statues honoring the other Thimble Theater characters are added each year. This character trail is spread throughout Chester and to date includes:
Popeye the Sailor Man
J. Wellington Wimpy (2006)
“Olive Oyl, Swee’ Pea, and Jeep” (2007)
“Castor Oyl and Whiffle Hen” (2009)
“Sea Hag” (2010)
“Cole Oyl” (2011)
“Alice The Goon” (2012)
“I yam, what I yam!”
And alas! We come to the Great Flood Wall of Paducah, KY. This is one treat to see, as many local residents and visitors alike, come to gaze upon the wonderful artistry of Mr. Robert Dafford. He took the different “tiles” of the wall, and has painted some the great history of Paducah. A “memory wall” if you will.
Wikipedia: In 1996, the Paducah Wall to Wall mural program was begun by the Louisiana mural artist Robert Dafford and his team on the flood wall in downtown Paducah. They have painted more than 50 murals addressing numerous subjects, including Native American history, industries such as river barges and hospitals, local African-American heritage, the historic Carnegie Library on Broadway Street, steamboats, and local labor unions. By 2008 the mural project was completed and being maintained. Muralist Herb Roe returned to the city each year to repaint and refurbish the panels. Roe is the only muralist associated with the project to have worked on all of the panels. Roe added a new mural to the project in the summer of 2010. It shows the 100-year history of the local Boy Scout troop, Troop 1. Troop 1 is one of only a handful of troops who share their centennial with that of the national scouting organization itself. The dedication for the mural was held on National Scout Sunday, February 6, 2011.
Refurbishing one of the panels
Thank you for allowing me to share a small slice of Kentucky with you! Hoping to see some of your Small town USA some time!
With continuation of small town Paducah, KY, – they have a great history with the railroad boom!
Wikipedia: The Illinois Central Railroad began construction of their largest locomotive workshop at Paducah in 1924. Over a period of 190 days, a large ravine between Washington and Jones Streets was filled with 44,560 carloads of dirt to enlarge the site to include 23 buildings. The eleven million dollar project was completed in 1927 as the fourth largest industrial plant in Kentucky. It became the largest employer in Paducah with 1,075 employees in 1938. The Paducah shops were converted to maintain diesel locomotives as steam locomotives were replaced through the 1940’s and 1950’s; and a nationally known rebuilding program for aging diesel locomotives from Illinois Central and other railroads began in 1967. The shops became part of the Paducah and Louisville Railway in 1986; and are operated by VMV Paducahbilt.
The small plaque in front of the great engine reads: To perpetuate memories of the days of the Steam Locomotive, this engine was presented to the City of Paducah in 1963 by the Illinois Central Railroad Co.
Note the mural painting in this last photo? A prelude to tomorrow’s posting.
As mentioned in the previous post, Paducah, KY, is a really great city which has a wonderful downtown Art District as well as antique shops, and theaters. The Market House Theatre began preforming fantastic productions in late 1963, and still today, is an awesome place to catch a great show! (personal note: I have personally either played in the orchestra, or have been a cast member on many of their productions)