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Ted Hood of San Antonio
Defends the Spinach Capital of the World

Crystal City, Texas

In answer to an Arkansas Gazette article about Alma, Arkansas being the Spinach Capital, Little Rock resident (but former San Antonian) T.C. Hood wrote to the editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Jay Grelen's article about Alma, Arkansas and it's new Popeye statue promoting Alma as the "Spinach Capital of the World" was interesting, but seemed to stretch historical facts just a tad.

With due respect, let me bring you up to date. On March 26, 1937, spinich growers erected a statue of the cartoon character, Popeye, in Crystal City, Texas, because of his reliance on spinach for strength led to greater popularity of the vegetable.

Early in it's history the area was known as the "Winter Garden District" was nationally known as the "Spinach Capital of the World." With ample underground water and sandy soil Crystal City produces 80% or more of the nation's spinach crop.

Their first annual festival was held in 1936. It was put on hold during WW II and resumed in 1982, and continues to this day, the second week in Nov. My future wife, Sarah E. Osborn participated in two Festivals, 1937 ( the dedication of the Popeye Statue) and 1940 (as a member of the Queen's Court.)
Popeye statue in Crystal City, Texas
The statue of Popeye in front of Crystal City City Hall
TE photo, November 2001
It draws former residents and workers from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Washington State and beyond.

When the Victoria Texas Newspaper put out a special historical edition in 1934, it featured a cartoon drawn exclusively for "The Advocate." In it, Popeye said "please assept me, me hardies bes' wises and felicitation on account of yer paper's 88th anniveersary...Victoria is me home town on account of tha's where I got born'd at." When the strip went into syndication, "The Victoria Advocate" was the first Newspaper in the nation to feature it.

So there it is in black and white: Popey the Sailor Man is a native Texan. Now pass the Spinach.

Ted Hood, Sr.
Little Rock, AR


Mr. Hood's Original Letter to Texas Escapes
Dear TE, A local Little Rock newspaper has an article about Alma, Arkansas putting up it's second Popeye statue. And they claim Alma is "The Spinach Capital of the World." Now you and I know that isn't so. May I use some of your Web-site material in rebutting their article? If this is not permitted, I may write them, using my personal knowledge, having been born at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, September 12, 1922. My wife was born in Crystal City, in 1923, and participated in two Spinach Festivals. -
Ted Hood Sr., Little Rock, Arkansas, November 07, 2006

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