Illinois March 06, 2019
This Popeye-Themed Museum In Illinois That Celebrates 100 Years Of Everyone’s Favorite Cartoon Sailor Man
Few Illinoisans know that the Land of Lincoln is also the land of a classic cartoon character, and there’s a town down south that’s all about it. Celebrate everyone’s favorite spinach-loving sailor at this incredible Popeye-themed museum.
There’s more than just a museum to explore when you drop by this Mississippi River town. Check it out:
The small town of Chester, Illinois is home to just 8,500 residents (a few of which are made of stone, but we'll get to that later), but it is known for a world-wide phenomenon. Recognized as the Home of Popeye the Sailor Man, this place belongs on the bucket lists of everyone who grew up watching this famous cartoon.
All around town, you'll find hidden tributes to this wonderful sailor man, his wife, Olive Oyl, and a cast of other characters. In addition to the museum, there are murals, statues, and signs that prove these people really love Popeye.
Once you make your way further into town, you'll find the glue that holds this Popeye-themed town together. This collective effort of cartoonish homages is all thanks to the Spinach Can Collectibles. The heart of this unique adventure, this is where the true history begins.
A step inside this ancient building, which was once an opera house that was constructed around 1875, will bring you face-to-face with items that have been around for more than 90 years. Each inch of this small space is filled with memorabilia. An estimated 2,000 pieces are always on display and items have to rotate as there is just too much to show at one time.
The owners of this Popeye-themed museum will give you a brief history of Popeye and Elzie Crisler Segar, the man who created him and who was actually once employed in this building when it was an opera house. Segar was born in Chester on December 8, 1894 and played the drums, filmed movies, and acted before deciding to become a cartoonist at the age of 18.
This talented guy got his start in Cleveland before moving to Chicago where he was so successful that they sent him to New York. He started drawing for the New York Journal and the rest is history. Now he has a one-of-a-kind Popeye-themed museum dedicated to him in his hometown where it truly began.
Segar passed away of illness in 1938.
Once you've had your fill of this marvelous little Popeye-themed museum, there's another collective effort you've got to check out. Throughout the town, the Popeye Character Trail will lead you to 13 different stone residents of Chester you absolutely must see.
for a map of all the statues on the trail.
The Popeye statue has actually been around for more than three decades but others have slowly been coming up since 2006. Each year at the annual Popeye Picnic in September, a new one is unveiled.
Many characters from Popeye the Sailor Man were based on actual residents of Chester, Illinois during the time that Segar lived here. From general store workers to Segar's actual boss, the thought that these are caricatures make them that much more charming.
Not to be dark, but you can even find the tombstones of the people these characters are based on in Chester. Some stones even show images of the cartoon character they inspired.
No town in the world celebrates its legacy quite like this one. Even the local Boy Scouts have Popeye-themed patches. From the car washes to the welcome signs, this place goes above and beyond when it comes to giving Popeye the recognition he deserves.
Spinach Can Collectibles is open Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. as well as Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and it is located at 1001 State St, Chester, IL 62233. Get more information on its website
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If you’ve ever been to this Popeye-themed museum, we’d love to hear from you. Please share your experiences and photos with us below in the comments.