The Great River Road

Old Man River, Father of Waters, “body of a nation,” Big Muddy—by any name the mighty Mississippi cuts a mythic figure across the American landscape.

Chester: Home of Popeye

The GRR neatly skips around Chester, “Home of Popeye,” via a pleasant riverbank detour, returning to Hwy-3 on the downstream side of town. Popeye first appeared in print in 1929, and a memorial to local boy Elzie Segar, creator of the spinach-guzzling scrapping Sailor Man, stands in a picnic area beside the bridge to Missouri; if you miss it, you’ll have to turn around on the other side of the Mississippi. As the story goes, Chester locals Frank “Rocky” Fiegel and William “Windy Bill” Schuchert were the inspiration for Popeye the Sailor and Wimpy the Hamburger Fiend. If you pass through at the beginning of September, drop by the annual Popeye Picnic, with its big flea market of all the Popeye collectibles you never imagined existed