Thousands of volunteer
spent over two years time raising the $80,000 needed to repair, strip,
and paint the aging water tower in Collinsville, Illinois.
The hard work paid off in June of
1995 when the monumental job was complete. Thanks to a nationwide
It!" campaign, the World's Largest Catsup Bottle was restored to its
design and glory.
sold over 6,000 t-shirts and
sweatshirts all across the country," said Judy DeMoisy who lead the
Catsup Bottle Preservation Group. "And it was the outpouring of
large and small, that enabled us to reach our goal."
sales, a radio station
live broadcast - that included a visit from the Oscar Mayer
and lots of hustle went into the massive effort. Enough money was
to establish a maintenance fund, and to purchase a flood light to
the Bottle at night. The first guesstimates for the project were around
But when the bids
came in, the lowest
bid was three times as much. That just made everybody work harder.
Bottle shirts are now being worn in all 50 states, as well as London,
cost for the restoration was $77,440. It was handled by Diversified
Ltd. of O'Fallon, Illinois. Paint for the project was donated by the
Company of Kansas City, Missouri.
During the first
week of April 1995,
workers from Diversified Coating began the task of scraping and
the giant steel bottle. The paint being removed was lead-based. Extra
was taken during the stripping process to protect the environment.
had to maneuver their baskets
aroound the water tank more than 100 feet in the air.
Painters did the
job by hand while
suspended by cables. The Bottle's irregular shape would not accommodate
scaffolding or bulk-painting equipment.
The tower once
again bears the logo
of the Gerhart S. Suppiger Company that owned the Brooks Catsup
plant and had the tower built in 1949.
The slogan "Makes
better" also returned. Continuous rainy weather slowed the project a
but by the first of June, the job was nearly complete.
celebrated with a Main Street parade on June 3, 1995, and with a
ceremony that evening. By late June of 1995 the restoration was
"I'll never get to
thank the thousands
of supporters," DeMoisy said. "The community, regional, and national
has been great. Together we did it!"
To some the tower
is still just
a landmark, but to others it now stands as a shiney red, white, and
symbol of the American spirit of cooperation and perseverance.
In August of 2002
the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower was
added to the National
Register of Historic Places.
Read more on our "History" page and for a more detailed
look, check out the News and Information Archive.