With no funding except for art donated by authors and comic book artists, a website has raised more than $101,000 to restore the Cleveland house where young Jerry Seigel laid away at night and conceived of a man of steel, Superman.
Asking people to find their inner Supermen and help preserve the structure for posterity, author Brad Meltzer and his friend Mike San Giacomo called their friends, fellow comic book writers and artists and recruited Jerry Siegel’s wife and daughter to become honorary chairpersons for the new Siegel & Shuster Society.
The house in Cleveland where Superman was created, was rotting away, including the actual bedroom where young Jerry Siegel, a seventeen year old kid, stared at his bedroom ceiling on a rainy summer night and gave birth to the idea of Superman.
The house was structurally a great old house — painted bright red and blue — and owned by one of the kindest elderly couples in the world. But as the neighborhood sank, so did the house. As Brad recalls, “When you walked inside, you felt like your foot might go through the floor. The roof was flawed. The paint was a mess. When you looked up at the ceiling, you saw the exposed rafters overhead. Worst of all, the city of Cleveland refused to recognize the house as worth saving.” The current owner said, “They won’t even give us a plaque. Not even a plaque to say, ‘This is where Superman was created.’”
The original call for help on the website, www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com read, “Will we succeed? That depends on 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.”
Since raising the cash to renovate the house, the organizers decided to turn their efforts toward another cause. They are now collecting one dollar donations for City Year, a group that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, and gives them the skills and opportunities to change the world.
Watch the inspiring video that tells the story of a group of heroes coming together for a cause.
Brad Meltzer was doing research for his new suspense novel, The Book of Lies, about the creation of Superman, when he came upon the house in it’s terrible condition…
(Note, some of the source material has been removed by the source)