Now, I’ll give it to Crystal City. They erected a statue back in 1937 of the popular pipe-smoking sailor man, after the introduction of a Spinach Festival in their city. They have every right to the statue. Got no problem there.
But when it comes to the Spinach Capital of the World, that has to go to Alma. The Allen Canning Company in town at one point was producing 65 percent of the world’s canned spinach.
I could go into all of this extensively, but it’s covered well on Russ Johnson’s Arkansas Travelogue page.
Anyway… it occurred to me recently that I have visited the old Popeye statue, the one that’s been in town since 1987... but I’ve never taken a photograph of it. Well, of course, this won’t do.
So I rolled into town on an August morning and went looking for City Hall. The little statue (okay, it’s eight feet tall, but that comparatively small for a statue) sat across from City Hall for years.
Instead, I saw the t-shirt adorned center of government, but no statue. Well, maybe I was wrong, maybe it was further down the road. So I headed a bit further along towards the high school.
And I hit the brakes when I saw the park with its big cast iron gates. I pulled in.
The imposing gates and path somehow reminded me of Graceland (though I know the driveway at Graceland is asphalt lined with bricks). Gardens lined a circle, and there were gazebos for cover. And in the center of it all, one large bronze tribute statue of Popeye in all its glory.
Of course, we’re all guilty of screwing up now and again. And I screwed up on this assignment. Because I forgot to take a photo of the water tower. Fortunately, others have… so you know what the World’s Largest Spinach Can looks like. Except it’s full of water. Yeah, something like that.