Homer Simpson’s Hometown
· 6 min. read
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The Simpsons’ goofball father, Homer Simpson, was born on May 12, 1956, to Mona Olson and Abraham Simpson II. He was raised on the family farm just off Rural Route 9 outside of Springfield, Oregon. They would live a happy life on the farm until 1963 when they were forced to foreclose the property as their cows began producing sour milk. The family would then move to Springfield, where Homer would stay and start a family of his own.
However canon as all that might be, none of the above is true. Homer Simpson, at least in context to the television show The Simpsons, is not real. There was no old family farm, there was no Mona and Abraham Simpson, and there was no Springfield.
But there was a Main Centre, Saskatchewan, and that’s where the real story begins.
Homer Groening, the father of Matt Groening, would be born in Main Centre on December 30, 1919, to a Mennonite family. He was a “model citizen”, says Matt, who “didn’t even like donuts”. Homer wouldn’t live in Main Centre for very long though, as his family would relocate to Albany, Oregon when he was still a boy. He would attend Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, where he would meet his future wife, Margaret Wiggum.
Homer would go into advertising, cartooning, and filmmaking and would encourage his son Matt to not do the same. Matt and Homer had a “contentious relationship”, according to a 2002 interview, so Matt did it anyway. He would go on making The Simpsons and use his father as inspiration for Homer Simpson, one of the show’s main characters.
However, Matt insists that the two are nothing alike. Homer Groening was a German-speaking member of the community, a member of the Boy Scouts, and was involved in the local Baptist church. He also served as a pilot in World War II and was a decorated war hero. He would be involved in the Battle of Normandy, D-Day, and even the bombing of Berlin.
Homer Simpson, in contrast, is none of those things.
In fact, the only similarity is that they are both conflicted, hard-working men who loved their families deeply. They both also really loved ice cream.
Homer Groening isn’t the only namesake that made its way into The Simpsons, however. Homer’s wife, and Matt’s mother, Margaret Wiggum, would be the namesake of both Marge (Homer Simpson’s wife) and the Wiggum family. Margaret would also sport Marge Simpson’s iconic beehive hairstyle, although it wasn’t blue like in the cartoon. Matt’s siblings, Lisa and Maggie Groening are the namesakes behind Lisa and Maggie Simpson. Additionally, the character Patty Bouvier is named after Matt’s sister, Patty. The only similar name that wasn’t intentional is that both Grampa Simpson and Matt’s grandfather share the same name Abraham.
As for Main Centre, however, there isn’t very much left. The residents are split between Main Centre and “Old Main Centre”, which was abandoned following the relocation of the railway line in the 1930s. Between the two hamlets, there are five houses, with only four of them occupied. The church was closed in 2019 after the congregation fell to ten people, and the schoolhouse-turned-museum closed in 2015. Even the local elevator is out of service.
There is still some life inside Main Centre, however, as during the 1990s an effort was done by the local Mennonite Church to identify and mark all the graves in the local cemetery. It took years of work and a national callout for anybody who had relatives in the cemetery to share information about it. When the project was complete, nearly one hundred graves were marked, making this cemetery one of the best well-marked and historically kept cemeteries in the province.
Unfortunately, there are no visible signs of the Simpson legacy in Main Centre. There might be a desk or a schoolbook that Homer Groening used inside the old museum, but it is closed to the public. Even the land where Homer Groening lived on is probably gone, swallowed by the passage of time and the shifting farmland. However, unlike the Old Simpson Farm, I do not believe it was lost to a fire.
Few people know about the connection between Homer Groening, Homer Simpson, and Main Centre. Matt has mentioned it in a few interviews, and it is on Wikipedia, but outside of passionate Simpson’s fanbase, it isn’t well known at all.
Did you know that Homer Simpson was from Main Centre, Saskatchewan? Let me know in the comments below!
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Categories: Canada, History, Saskatchewan