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Kansas Town Renamed Smallville...For A Day

Clay Enos
Warner Brothers Pictures

In a scene from the recent film Man of Steel, Superman is asked why he should be trusted. He responds, "I grew up in Kansas." For the past year, three natives of Hutchinson, Kan., have argued that their hometown is probably the closest fit to the superhero’s: Smallville.

On Friday, June 21, for one day only, Hutchinson will be known as "Smallville, Kansas – the Home of Clark Kent."

Hutchinson as candidate for Smallville

"We were sitting around in the hot, summer sun, discussing our love for the show Smallville, of Superman and all things comic-related," says Ben Eisiminger, a musician based in Lawrence, and one of the co-founders of Hutchinson, KS should be named "Smallville," a Facebook page.

"We just started discussing how our hometown shared a lot of similarities between the fictional place that is Smallville," he says. "And we talked about how, if there really was such a place, I think Hutchinson is just a good a candidate as any place."

Hutchinson is home to the Kansas State Fair and the Kansas Cosmophere and Space Center. KC McNeely, also a Lawrence resident who helped launch the Facebook page, points out that as of the 2010 census, there were 42,080 residents in Hutchinson; Smallville’s population: 45,000.

McNeely rattled off some more details shared by the towns, based on Smallville, graphic novels and comic books. "We lie on the Arkansas (in Kansas, that’s pronounced: R-Kansas) River, which comes from the graphic novel, The Kents. We are 57 miles from Salina, and Smallville is 55 miles from Salina. We have the historic Fox Theatre here in Hutchinson, which resembles quite a bit The Talon, from the Smallville television show," he says.

Pitching idea to City Council

Due to the timing of several events, including the 75th anniversary of the creation of Superman, Chris Wietrick, an artist who still lives in Hutchinson, approached the City Council earlier this month about their proposal to rename the city. The City Council voted unanimously to support a "Smallville Day" proclamation, which began like this:

WHEREAS, the fictional character Clark Kent, a/k/a Superman, arrived in Smallville in a spaceship during a meteor shower; and WHEREAS, the City of Hutchinson and Smallville share many similarities.”

"Smallville Day" will take place on June 21. It coincides with the induction of Clark Kent/Superman into the Kansas Hall of Fame in Topeka, Kan.

"Of course, we would love to see a permanent name change," says Eisiminger."Our mission statement has changed from making Hutchinson Smallville to making it more Smallville now."

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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