Saving the house where Superman was born
For the past two years, while researching Jerry Siegel's life for my new novel, I asked my friend Mike San Giacomo to take me to the actual house in Cleveland where Superman was created. I wanted to see the exact spot where young Jerry Siegel sat in his bed on that rainy summer night...where a seventeen(!) year old kid stared at his bedroom ceiling and gave birth to the idea of Superman.
And so we went. (You can read that whole adventure here and watch the video here).
But the one thing I quickly realized was that this house was in...well...it was in bad shape.
The house where Google was created is saved. The farm where Hewlett Packard was founded is preserved. And Richard Nixon’s house is a museum. But the house where Superman — one of the world’s most recognized heroes — was created? It’s a wreck. It's actually a great old house -- painted bright red and blue (really) -- and owned by one of the kindest elderly couples in the world. But as the neighborhood sank, so did the house. When you walk inside, you feel like your foot might go through the floor. The roof is flawed. The paint is a mess. When you look up at the ceiling, you see the exposed rafters overhead. It's a mess. Worst of all, the city of Cleveland let it happen. As the owner told me, “They won’t even give us a plaque. Not even a plaque to say, ‘This is where Superman was created.’”
And that’s why Mike and I started calling our friends. He called the city of Glenville. I called my fellow comic book writers and artists. Then I called Jerry Siegel’s wife and daughter, Joanne and Laura, who came on as our honorary chairpeople. One thing became clear: if we don't save this place soon, the house will soon go the way of Superman artist Joe Shuster's, which was torn down.
Soon after, thanks to the hard work of many, The Siegel & Shuster Society was born.
With a name like that, peole keep asking me, “Is that the secret superhero clubhouse?” You better believe it’s the secret superhero clubhouse.
And this charitable 501(c)(3) is dedicated to making sure the Siegel House will be saved, and restored, and there so you can take your kids one day.
Will we succeed? That depends on you. Really. You. If we want to repair the exterior, and fix the roof, and clear out the rotted wood, we have to raise the cash. Cleveland won’t pay. The big corporations won’t pay. They’re the ones who ignored it. But like the site says, I believe ordinary people change the world. I believe that we — the true fans — can do what Cleveland and everyone else couldn’t
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