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Wally Spiers

  January 23, 2007

Brooks Catsup Bottle Part of New Poster Series
Look out Sears Tower and other great Chicago landmarks, the Brook's Catsup Bottle Water Tower has invaded the Windy City -- sort of. Barb Shubert of Pontoon Beach wrote recently to tell of her encounter in Chicago with the metro-east's favorite piece of roadside architecture.

   Actually the catsup bottle is part of the Offbeat Illinois Poster series, images of Illinois oddities that have been spread around the state by the Illinois Department of Tourism.

   I'm actually a bit behind. Mike Gassmann of Collinsville, the Big Tomato of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle Fan Club, said the posters have been around since last summer.

   "We got a call from (ad agency) J. Walter Thompson last spring wanting pictures," Gassmann said. "We sent some really detailed pictures and they painted a great picture. We're excited about the results."

   Gassmann said the poster campaign kicked off about the time the fan club was setting up the Catsup Bottle Festival last year and he may have not gotten the word out to everyone.

   "We started hearing from people last summer," he said. "I guess transplanted Collinsvillians were excited to see the catsup bottle in Chicago."
catsup bottle poster
   The poster series also includes Robert Wadlow, the Alton Giant, Metropolis and Superman, and the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow, among other oddities.

   While Chicago may have its tall buildings, a world class art museum and natural history museum, Collinsville has the Catsup Bottle. Right off Illinois 159, the unused water tower is a giant likeness of Brook's tangy catsup bottle. The water tower is 170 feet tall, 100 feet of steel legs and 70 feet of catsup bottle. It is 25 feet in diameter and will hold 100,000 gallons of liquid.

   It was built in 1949 for the G.S. Suppiger Co. as a water storage tower. It was restored in 1995 by a citizen's group and is illuminated from the south side at night.

   Alton is proud of Wadlow, who grew to 8-foot, 11-inches and 490 pounds before dying in 1940 at age 22 as a result of an infected blister on his foot.

   For more information on the posters, you can visit the Illinois tourism Web site at

Enjoy a Gallery of Some of our Favorites!
butter cow
trex jane
great pumpkin
naked mole rat
reindeer farm
robert wadlow
dick tracy museum

Brooks rich & tangy ketchup

Catsup Bottle Summerfest Postcards