Krypton: A planet in Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 (or the Xeno Galaxy depending on who you ask) millions of light years from Earth which exploded and produced the cause for the people of Metropolis to be incapable of distinguishing between a bird, plane, or flying man — or a small community in Eastern Kentucky often mistaken for Superman’s home planet.
With the release of the blockbuster film “Man of Steel” earlier this month, excitement for the Superman mythos is at a peak. And while Krypton, Ky. may not have many recorded sightings of unidentified flying superheroes, postcards and letters for the Man of Steel are not uncommon.
Delbert Eversole, retired postmaster for the Krypton post office, said he has seen mail for Clark Kent come through the post office since he started working there over 50 years ago, especially in the ‘60s when Superman comics were virtually in the hands of every kid. He has even managed to hang on to some of the correspondence over the years.
“I think it’s really neat, you don’t see this stuff every day,” current Krypton Postmaster Willie Stidham, Jr. said, holding up a post card for Clark Kent from a child in Germany, post marked 1964. “You know, for him (Eversole) to hang onto it, especially this one. That’s 40 some years old.”
Eversole, who also runs a small country store in the same building as the post office, said the excitement for the community’s name is still prevalent in fans today.
“There’s a little kid right up the road there, he comes in and wears his Superman suit about half the time. He came in yesterday with it on,” Eversole said.
Despite the letters, and the obvious connection fans make when they hear of Krypton, the community did not receive its name from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s comic book world. In fact, the name of the small community located on Highway 451 between Yerkes and Chavies is pronounced differently than Superman’s fictional home world, with locals preferring the pronunciation “Kryptin.”
The Herald reported last year in a series about the origins of Perry County community names that there is no recorded or verifiable story behind Krypton’s name. Eversole said he thought the name came from the railroad company, or from the discovery of krypton, a naturally occurring element, in the area about 20 years before the community’s name was changed from Glenn to Krypton in 1918.
Still, no matter where the name came from, fans of the comic book, TV series, and movies send mail to the community in hopes of reaching “the last son of Krypton.”
“We get them from chemistry students, too,” Eversole said, pointing to a letter from 1995 that a Japanese chemistry student had sent inquiring about the name of the community.
The Krypton post office is also a site for a Geocache. Geocaching is a type of treasure hunting game where participants use a global positioning system to hide and seek containers with each other, logging their discoveries in the cache log located in the container; each time a cache is found the participant takes an item from it and leaves a different item of equal or lesser value.
The Krypton Geocache is full of different Superman memorabilia, including stickers, pens, a Superman figurine, and even Superman bandages.
“If he (a participant) can find that thing he might open it and put a little Superman sticker in it and take something out,” Eversole explained.
According to the Geocaching website, in a post titled “Kryptonite” that describes the cache site in Krypton, participants should only trade Superman items.
With the new “Man of Steel” movie having just been released this year, Eversole said he expects there will be even more fan mail coming.
“That krypton word kind of gets their attention,” he said.