Lake Geneva in Walworth County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Gangling, laughable hero of the ﬁrst daily comic strip
—Erected in memory of his creator —
This statue of "Andy Gump", celebrated cartoon character introduced in 1917 as the first daily comic strip in the Chicago Tribune, was the first erected in 1924 on the Lake Geneva estate of his originator, Sidney Smith, beloved cartoonist and resident of Lake Geneva from 1922 until his untimely death in 1935. The gift of Robert J. Twyman and the Chicago Tribune, this representation of the irrepressible Gump, who for so long has brightened the the daily lives of millions throughout the world, is here erected as a memorial to the Lake Geneva resident who was his creator.
Location. 42° 35.376′ N, 88° 26.061′ W. Marker is in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in Walworth County. Marker is at the intersection of Wrigley Drive and Center Street, on the left when traveling south on Wrigley Drive. Touch for map. Located in Flatiron Park, overlooking Geneva Lake. Marker is in this post office area: Lake Geneva WI 53147, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Maple Park (approx. ¼ mile away); Wisconsin's First 4-H Club (approx. 3.3 miles away); The 755th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (approx. 5.7 The Webster House (approx. 7.8 miles away); First Swedish Settlers in Wisconsin (approx. 7.8 miles away); Welcome to Illinois (approx. 10.2 miles away in Illinois); Mormons in Early Wisconsin (approx. 10.3 miles away); East Troy Railroad (approx. 13.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lake Geneva.
More about this marker. The marker is on the base of a statue of Andy Gump.
Regarding Andy Gump. Sidney Smith started cartooning at the age of 18 in his hometown of Blooimington, Illinois and eventually would up at the Chicago Tribune. It was there he began to draw Andy Gump on the suggestion of publisher, Joseph Patterson.
Andy Gump was the star of The Gumps, one the first continuity strips, that is, to offer a continuous story line. The concept: Andy was the head of the Gump family, an average family with average adventures. The strip was a hit from the start. So many newspapers wanted to run the strip that the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate was formed to distribure The Gumps, and it is still distributing comics today under the name Tribune Media Services.
Gump was a blowhard, his wife, Min, was his pillar to lean on and secretly the brains of the family. They had a mischievous son, Chester, a rich Uncle Bim Gump and an incorrigible maid, named Tilda. There was also a cat (Hope) and a brawling dog named Buck.
Smith signed a million dollar contract with the Tribune. He drew the strip in a studio that was part of his estate on Geneva Lake and the paper placed a statue of Andy Gump in Smith's front yard. Some time later, the Tribune raised his salary and he signed a new contract. He died in an automobile accident on the way back to Lake Geneva from the signing, on October 20, 1935. Legend has it he wrecked his brand new Rolls Royce in that accident, but it is only legend and is not true.
The statue was moved to this location after Smith's death, honoring Lake Geneva's contribution to popular culture. It was destroyed in a drunken riot, circa 1967, and replaced. The replacement was stolen in 1989 and replaced. The historical marker plaque was even stolen - but it turned up later and was re-placed.
So here stands Andy Gump, a prominent, albeit fictional, resident of Lake Geneva - brainchild of Publisher Joseph Patterson, brought to life by Sidney Smith, a pioneer in modern entertainment.
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2015, by Lugnuts of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 208 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 16, 2015, by Lugnuts of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.