Metropolis, Illinois

Metropolis, Illinois
Elijah P. Curtis House in Metropolis
Country United States
State Illinois
County Massac
Coordinates 37°9′12″N 88°43′31″W / 37.15333°N 88.72528°W / 37.15333; -88.72528
Area 5.1 sq mi (13 km2)
 - land 5.1 sq mi (13 km2)
Density 1,295.1 / sq mi (500 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62960
Area code 618
Location of Metropolis within Illinois
Location of Metropolis within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Metropolis, Illinois

Metropolis is a city located along the Ohio River in Massac County, Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,482. It is the county seat of Massac County.[1] Metropolis is part of the Paducah, KY-IL Micropolitan Statistical Area and also located in Southern Illinois.



Located on the Ohio River, the Metropolis area has been settled by many different peoples over history. For thousands of years, varying cultures of Native Americans originally populated the area. The most complex society was the Mississippian culture, which reached its peak out 1100 AD and built a large city at Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Its people built large earthworks and related structures, many of which remain at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mississippian culture regional centers arose throughout the Ohio and lower Mississippian valleys, where the rivers were part of widespread trading routes.

In 1757, Massac County was settled by a French expedition, which built Fort De L'Ascension for use during the French and Indian War (also known as the Seven Years War. The forces at the fort were able to resist a Cherokee attack during the war. Afterward the defeated French abandoned the fort. When the victorious British came to possess territory ceded by the French, the Chickasaw had already destroyed the fort.

Its mostly ethnic French residents were sympathetic to the rebels. In 1794 General George Washington ordered Fort Massac reconstructed. The fort was severely damaged by the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-12, and was abandoned by US military forces in 1814. Local settlers scavenged the timbers and left little behind of the original construction materials.

He picked the site because it was high above the river. In 1843, the Illinois Legislature formed Massac County. The McCartney family became leaders in building the town.

Prior to the American Civil War, some groups worked to establish a Western District of Columbia to include present-day Metropolis and the nearby area of Kentucky. An 1850 map illustrates this proposal. Soldiers were encamped in the vicinity during the early years of the American Civil War. Although in this area of southern Illinois, more farmers held slaves than in other parts of the state, as this section had been settled by migrants from the South, the state stayed with the Union during the war.

Metropolis is also home to Harrah's Metropolis casino/hotel, a riverboat casino frequented by visitors from around the region, making tourism one of the city's largest industries. Metropolis is also the site of the Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride Processing Facility, which converts milled uranium into uranium hexafluoride for nuclear reactors.[2]

In popular culture

  • On January 21, 1972 DC Comics declared Metropolis the "Hometown of Superman".
  • On June 9, 1972 the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572 that declared Metropolis the "Hometown of Superman," the comic book superhero who is based in the fictional city of Metropolis.[3]
  • The city has erected a large Superman statue, and fans created a small Superman museum. The city holds an annual Superman Celebration held the second weekend in June.
  • The local newspaper is named The Metropolis Planet, inspired by The Daily Planet, the fictional paper in Superman's Metropolis.
  • The 2005 album Illinoise from indie musician Sufjan Stevens features a track entitled "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts."


1850 map showing the proposed Western District of Columbia

Metropolis is located at 37°9′12″N 88°43′31″W / 37.15333°N 88.72528°W / 37.15333; -88.72528 (37.153332, -88.725374).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13 km2), of which, 5.0 square miles (13 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.18%) is water.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 6,482 people, 2,896 households, and 1,708 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,295.1 people per square mile (499.5/km²). There were 3,265 housing units at an average density of 652.3 per square mile (251.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.53% White, 7.61% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.45% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 0.74% of the population.

There were 2,896 households out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.77.

The age distribution was 20.0% under 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 79.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,371, and the median income for a family was $33,979. Males had a median income of $27,630 versus $17,561 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,967. About 12.5% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 16.7% of those age 65 or over.


Metropolis is served by Interstate 24, a regional Interstate Highway that runs from Chattanooga, Tennessee northwest to St. Louis, Missouri via Interstates 57 and 64. It is also served by U.S. Route 45, which runs geographically east-west through the area but runs north to Chicago and south to Paducah, and is signed north-south.

Illinois Route 145 lies east of the city and serves remote areas of nearby Shawnee National Forest.


Metropolis is home to Massac Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital that opened in 1956. Originally shaped like a cross, the hospital is located on the northwest side of town. The Hospital has undergone several renovations and additions to make updates to the original facility. Current services offered include Ambulance, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary, Emergency Department, Imaging, Laboratory, Massac Memorial Medical Clinic, Rehabilitation Services, Sleep Disorders Center, Specialty Clinic, Surgery, and Transitional Care. A Fresenius Medical Care Dialysis Center was constructed on the campus and opened in 2009.

Notable people

President Barack Obama poses with the statue of Superman that was erected in front of the Massac County courthouse.

Metropolis vs. Smallville

The city of Metropolis in the Superman saga is typically depicted as a large American city, such as Chicago or New York City (although the author of the original comic book series based Metropolis on Toronto).[7]

The town of Metropolis, Illinois is much more like Superman's adoptive midwestern home town of Smallville. The only movie theater in Metropolis has closed. Residents who want to see a theatrical release of a Superman film, ostensibly set in their town's fictional namesake, must travel to another town (typically Paducah, Kentucky) to do so.[8]

The real town of Metropolis is portrayed in one Superman comic-book story, specifically "Superman #92", in a story titled "Massacre in Metropolis!" (which is continued into "Adventures of Superman #515"), as a town whose citizens idolize, what is to them, the real-life Man of Steel. A villain named Massacre arrives in the town, having gotten lost and thinking he was in the "other" Metropolis, the city where Superman actually lives. He attacks a security guard and threatens many citizens in order to get proper directions to Superman's Metropolis.

Superman references

Photo of the Superman Museum from the main street

Metropolis is the home of Superman and has a giant statue of him on a main street in downtown Metropolis. The statue is located in front of the town courthouse. They hold a celebration annually in June called "The Superman Celebration" where comic book collectors come from all over the United States. Although Superman's Metropolis is usually used as an allegory for New York City, and in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is located in the fictional state of New Troy, one Adventures of Superman episode actually alludes to Superman living in Illinois. In the first season episode "A Night of Terror" Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent make plans to go see a Chicago White Sox game. Since Jimmy doesn't know Clark's secret identity, it is reasonable to assume that they plan on driving across the state as opposed to flying halfway across the country. Metropolis, Illinois was founded in 1839.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Dan Frosch, "In Superman’s Hometown, a Labor Dispute Over Health", New York Times, August 8, 2010.
  3. ^ Southern Illinois
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Patrick J. Sauer, "Behind the Scenes Companies: At the Heart of Everyday Life", Inc. Magazine, 1 Oct 2008, accessed 14 Dec 2010
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Metropolis, Ill., Basks in Ties to the Man of Steel"--story broadcast on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Tuesday, 2006-06-27
  9. ^ City of Metropolis - History

External links

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