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The Smallville Superfest In Plano, Illinois

Updated on June 19, 2013
Home of the Smallville Museum: The Plano, Illinois Train Depot.
Home of the Smallville Museum: The Plano, Illinois Train Depot. | Source

Smallville, Kansas - Superman's Hometown

The city originally used to model Superman's and Clark Kent's Metropolis is Cleveland, Ohio (co-creator of Superman Joel Shuster moved there and met future comic book partner Jerry Siegel) - but where is Smallville, his hometown on Earth?

Every August, it is in Plano, Illinois outside of Chicago at the Smallville Superfest.

Plano was transformed by film crews into Superman's hometown on Earth, Smallville, Kansas in 2011 for the shooting of Man of Steel, which was released on June 14, 2013.

In Ohio, very few press screenings or free sneak previews were offered in the two weeks preceding the film's release. Instead, WalMart stores sold pre-release screening packages to theaters nearest them for a gala pre-release event on June 13. My nearest WalMart advertised the event on in-store TV screens at the checkouts and via a large display in a major merchandising aisle at the front of the store. The June 13 package deal seemed to include a movie ticket, a Superman costume, and some other items. This was insustrial strength marketing that built the first-weekend box office take before the release even occurred.

The Plano Hotel was painted to represent that Smallville Hotel for the film "Man of Steel."
The Plano Hotel was painted to represent that Smallville Hotel for the film "Man of Steel." | Source

The Plano Hotel

This hotel is on the US National Register of Historic Places, which lists is as built in 1868 after the Civil War. It was quite busy until 1940, because many freight and passenger railroad lines used the nearby tracks and depot. During a decline of the railroads because of the rising popularity of the automobile, the Plano Hotel was converted into apartments. Residents had close-up views of the filming of Man of Steel.

The Superfest and Smallville Museum

The Smallville Superfest, a three-day event, a city-wide festival dedicated to Superman, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and the other characters of the Superman franchise.City officials feel that the filming of the reboot movie in Plano is responsible for the city's increased economy, filling storefronts on Main Street with new businesses and new jobs.

The city website shows new tax incentives available to businesses that might move into Plano. The target businesses for incentives are Retail, Restaurant, and Industrial/Manufacturing.

Actors other than those in the film portray the various characters of the Superman saga during the Superfest in the middle fo August. Fans like to have their photos taken with them. Besides that, the Superfest is probably the only place you will see Clark Kent and Superman together!

Plano is home to a railroad museum that is popular with visitors and plans are completed for creating a large Smallville exhibit inside the museum. The Smallville Museum, as the exhibit is called, opened at 10 AM on Saturday,June 15th in the Plano Depot.

Plano, Illinois Superfest

Plano IL:
Plano, IL 60545, USA

get directions

Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area:
Silver Springs State Park, Yorkville, IL 60560, USA

get directions

Purple prairie clover, one of the beautiful native plants in the prairie at Silver Springs.
Purple prairie clover, one of the beautiful native plants in the prairie at Silver Springs. | Source

Plano History

Plano is the location in which the mechanical reaper was invented in 1831. Designed and built by Cyrus McKormick, it was called the Plano Harvester. Images of the inventor and the machine can be seen in many places around Plano and the high school sports teams are known as the Reapers.

Ahile the 1903 graduating class had only 4 men and 5 women graduates, the city increased in population size to over 5,600 by 2000. by 2013, that number was doubled.

Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area is just south of Plano and presents opportunities for birding and other wildlife observation and photography. However, fishing and hunting are permitted in season. The Fox River flows southward from Wisconsin through the park as well. A superb prairie restoration landscaping project refurbished 45 acres of the park with native plants.

Several types of trees are native to this area, including the pawpaw, whose fruit makes a good jam, and the Kentucky coffee tree, whose seeds are good for a ht drink if first roasted (otherwise, they are poisonous).

Archaeological excavations have not been comprehensive in the wildlife area, but certain artifacts of the Fox Nation were found. A band of the Fox had migrated southward out of Wisconsin,likely following the Fox River. They were caught on Meramech Hill in or near what is now Plano by enemy tribes and French settlers and massacred, leaving no survivors.

Diana fritillary butterfly on wild quinine, found at Silver Springs.
Diana fritillary butterfly on wild quinine, found at Silver Springs. | Source

Waubonsee Community College

Founded in the 1960s, Waubonsee Community College is a two-year college in the western suburbs of Chicago, with campuses in Aurora, Plano, and Sugar Grove.

  • In Plano: 100 Waubonsee Drive; Plano, IL 60545

This college produced the largest graduating class in its history in the spring of 2013. Over 1,100 individuals earned degrees and 200 people earned the GED high school equivalency certificate.

The college also offers the dual high school and college credit program, classroom education, and online courses. Workforce Development services are offered as well, with Adult Education classes and Community Education personal enrichment courses high in popularity.

The college sports teams are called the Waubonsee Chiefs.

Sports field press box at the high school in Plano.
Sports field press box at the high school in Plano. | Source

Other Superman Locales

Metropolis, Illinois (founded,1829) is located in the southernmost part of the state and near Paducah, Kentucky. Here you will find the Superman Museum and a giant Superman statue in front of City Hall. The town holds a Superman festival every June.

Newspaper accounts in the 1950s to 1970s marked Cleveland, Ohio as the model for Metropolis and New York City as Batman's Gotham. Today, most people think Metropolis is NYC - except for the people in Metropolis, Illinois.

  • Address of the Super Museum: 517 Market Street, Metropolis, Illinois, 62960

The Super Museum has reevied the hobor of being named the Number One Small Town Attraction In America.


How Many Jobs Are Open in Plano Now?

As of the middle of June 2013, Plano job listings within a 25 mile radius included an astounding 36,000 openings. Plano has a population of just a little over 11,000.

This large number of employment vacancies makes a good labor market for Plano residents, but other nearby suburbs of Chicago vie for the same jobs.

The highest demand jobs are:

  1. Truck Drivers
  2. Software and other Engineers - IT, Electrical, Production (Manufacturing), and more.
  3. RN Nurses
  4. Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs)
  5. Clinical Support Techs
  6. Physical Therapists
  7. Salespeople
  8. Cashiers and CSRs
  9. Account Executives
  10. Restaurant Managers and Crew - McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Olive Garden
  11. Dental Assistants
  12. Automotive Technicians
  13. Sales Representatives
  14. Pharmacy Technicians
  15. Nurse Practitioners

Superman Actors

Who has given your favorite portrayal of Superman?

See results
At the Super Museum - Clark Kent at the Daily Planet.
At the Super Museum - Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. | Source


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      I've been a Superman fan for most of my life...I got to watch those TV shows in the fifties along with reading the comic books! How interesting to read about where the newest film was filmed. We had a similar burst here when they filmed "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, but nothing came of it once the film was finished.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      A beautiful piece of history with very interesting facts. A place where truck drivers are the most wanted workers seem like a good place for some other types of action films.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Gee, it sounds like a long film! :) Some critics said they were shocked by the ending, but I won't comment. The lead and his costume do look attractive, tho.

      I'm waiting for someone to film Hawkman!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      So Plano, IL with its population of 11,000 is now Smallville, Superman's home on earth. Who knew? Saw the film, Patty, and it was long, interesting, long, exciting, long, and the protagonist is 'hot'!


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