In honor of all the hot dogs and brats I hope you're grilling up this summer, we're highlighting the 2000 American Water Landmark - the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower! We've highlighted cool water towers before, but somehow missed this guy.
This towering bottle of tomatoey goodness was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Company to supply water to the Brooks catsup plant. It's located in southern Illinois, in the town of Collinsville. Of the water landmarks we've featured so far, this one certainly has the biggest following today. In 1993, the Brooks company prepared to sell the property. The local municipality wasn't interested in taking on the costs of repairing the aging water tower, so volunteers banded together to raise $80,000 to repair, strip, and paint the tower. The group still exists today and maintains a website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. You can even join the Worlds Largest Catsup Bottle Fan Club right here and get all sorts of goodies. Finally, there's also an annual festival that we just missed. Luckily, that leaves us all plenty of time to plan our pilgrimages to the site next year.
All kidding aside, this landmark is pretty cool. It's always admirable when someone takes on a simple, straightforward project (like a water tower) and gives it a unique point of view. I'm sure it wasn't the easiest or cheapest way to tackle the project. By going beyond the expected, we're left with a piece of human creativity to inspire us for years. It certainly has provided inspiration of the community. Wouldn't you love for volunteers to raise $80,000 for your next water tower restoration project? It's these kind of unique things that helps communities form together, and now Collinsville, IL has a great symbol for many years to come.