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Metropolis is a city located along the Ohio River in Massac County, Illinoismarker, in the United Statesmarker. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,482. It is the county seat of Massac Countymarker.Metropolis is part of the Paducahmarker, KYmarker-IL Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Prior to the American Civil War there was a proposal to establish a Western District of Columbiamarker to include present day Metropolis and the nearby area of Kentucky. An 1850 map illustrates this proposal.

On January 21, 1972 DC Comics declared Metropolis "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. Among the ways it celebrates the character are a large Superman statue in the city, a small Superman museum, and an annual Superman Celebration that is always held the second weekend in June. Also, it has a local newspaper, known as The Metropolis Planet, ( a name inspired by the newspaper in fictional Metropolis, The Daily Planet.

Metropolis is also home to Harrah's Metropolismarker casino/hotel, a riverboat casino frequented by visitors from around the region, making tourism one of the city's largest industries.


Metropolis is located at (37.153332, -88.725374).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13.1 km²), of which, 5.0 square miles (13.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.18%) is water.


Photo of the Superman Museum from the main street
As of the census 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/sq mi (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 the age of 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 years of age 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, Tennesseemarker northwest to St. Louis, Missourimarker 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 Chicagomarker 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 Forestmarker.


Metropolis is home to Massac Memorial Hospital, a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital that opened in 1956. The Hospital was originally shaped like a cross and is located on the northwest side of town.

The Hospital has undergone several constructions and renovations to modernize 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.

Famous Residents

  • Curt Jones, Creator of World Famous Dippin' Dots Ice Cream
  • Lindsay "Butch" Weaver, Co-developer of CDMA with Qualcommmarker team (1986-2001), inventor on 54 U.S. patents.
  • Jack Smith, NASCAR driver.
  • Michael Patrick, author of We Are a Part of History (1990), Orphan Trains to Missouri (1997), and The Black West in Story and Song (2006).
  • Oscar Micheaux, pioneering African-American filmmaker and author.
  • Annie Turnbo Malone, born in 1869 in Massac County Illinois and founder of the black beauty culture, businesswoman, philanthropist and founder of the Poro College
  • Sean Stearns, filmmaker (Born in Metropolis)
  • John Steele , American paratrooper made famous in the movie, The Longest Day (1962) whose parachute was caught on the steeple of the village church in Ste. Mere-Eglise, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
  • John Pruett, Illinois High School Association--Career Field Goal Percentage Champion, [17053]
  • Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz, is buried in Metropolis.[17054]

Metropolis vs. Smallville

The city of Metropolis in the Superman saga is typically depicted as a large American city, such as Chicagomarker or New York Citymarker.

The town of Metropolis, Illinois, is a lot 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, Kentuckymarker) to do so.

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

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 July 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 .

See also


  1. Southern Illinois
  2. "Metropolis, Ill., Basks in Ties to the Man of Steel"--story broadcast on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Tuesday, 2006-06-27
  3. City of Metropolis - History

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