We’re finishing up a week of hamburger roadside attractions here on Silly America with a monument to one of the great American icons of the hamburger: J. Wellington Wimpy and the Popeye Wimpy statue in Chester, Illinois.
No, J. Wellington Wimpy didn’t invent the hamburger. No, I doubt he ever even made a hamburger. But yes, he sure did like to eat them! Wimpy is known as being the Popeye hamburger guy in a cartoon from the 1920s.
Wimpy the hamburger guy from Popeye cartoon is a smart but lazy and cheap man who holds an inescapable hunger for hamburgers but is oft unwilling to pay for them. He’s the type who would beg, borrow, and steal just for a taste of a beef patty on a bun. And, he is perhaps one of his most famous lines “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” probably says it all.
Chester, Illinois is home to Popeye creator Elzie Crisler Segar and the town has been turned into a sort of shrine to the man and his work. The Popeye Character Trail in Chester features an ever-expanding parade of statues of the cartoon characters and murals and other photo ops are erected all over the town in honor of Popeye and the rest of the comic gang. (Check out the Popeye Statue, the Popeye murals, and some photo ops around town!) In September 2006, at the town’s annual Popeye Picnic, a new statue was added to the mix in Gazebo Park: the Popeye hamburger guy, Wimpy.
The Wimpy Popeye statue in Chester is an 18-ton granite rendering depicting the famous Popeye hamburger character holding his favorite meal.
As Wimpy says, “I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” but you can visit this Illinois roadside attraction any day of the week.
Popeye Wimpy Statue
Location: 1001 State St, Chester, IL 62233
Cost: Free to see
Hours: Always Visible
Date of photos: July 15, 2007