Do you know about the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle®? Well, you do now! This attraction stands tall in Collinsville, Illinois, where it’s been a roadside attraction on a southern stretch of highway for over 60 years.
The largest catsup bottle in the world stands beside Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville. It is a whopping 170 feet (51.8 meters) tall and is actually a water tower. The original project cost $23,000 to build and would hold about 640,000 regular bottles of catsup—if it wasn’t holding 100,000 gallons of water. That means you can’t squirt this roadside attraction to add some tangy zest to your French fries. The W.E. Caldwell Company built this creative water tower advertisement in 1949 to supply water to the nearby Brooks catsup plant owned by The G.S. Suppiger Company. G.S. Suppiger himself allegedly came up with the idea.
The advent of expressways put a lot of roadside attractions in danger, but in 1995, the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group stepped in to save it from destruction. They lovingly restored the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle® to its original glory, and the bottle has been standing tall ever since as a symbol of classic Americana art. The restoration project cost $70,000—a cost that was well worth it to preserve this work of art.
In 2002, the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle® was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and with good reason. The bottle hosts tourists and travelers every day, and every July, there is an entire town festival dedicated to the catsup bottle. Collinsville, only 20 minutes away from St. Louis, is host to other local attractions such as the Cahokia Mounds and Illinois Woodhenge. Make a day trip out of exploring all of these quirky attractions!