The subject of this Big Thing To See in the USA could have come straight from the kitchen table of Paul Bunyan — it’s the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, and it’s perched atop a tower near St. Louis, Missouri.
At the risk of causing a mini-controversy, VroomVroomVroom is designating this Big Catsup Bottle as a Big St. Louis Thing To See, but it’s really in Collinsville, Illinois. (Collinsville is a city located across the state line, and about a 20-minute rental car drive east of St. Louis.)
So is this a Giant Landmark of Missouri, or a Humongous Attraction in Illinois?? It’s really up to you! But we’re sure the bottle cap is 170 feet high!
We will prevent further controversy here and now by informing you that YES, it’s the World’s Largest CATSUP Bottle and not KETCHUP Bottle, and that’s because the bottle’s label spells it the old way!
“Ketchup” and “catsup” are simply different spellings for the same thing, a modern, Westernized version of a condiment that originally didn’t even have tomatoes, brought back to Europe by traders in the the late 17th century. Europeans loved it, and called it “catchup”.
Starting in 1711, the sauce was sometimes called “ketchup” in books. Meanwhile, a 1730 Jonathan Swift poem spelled it “catsup”.
An American cook book published in 1801 is actually credited as the first with a recipe that added tomatoes. In the early 19th century, the tomato-based catsup was a Big Hit in the U.S.A.! The H. J. Heinz Company began producing tomato-based ketchup in 1876. They originally referred to their product as “catsup”, but after a few years switched to “ketchup” to stand out. To this day, some manufacturers use one word, while others use the other spelling.
The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle — which, by the way, is a registered trademark! — is actually a Big Water Tower, and sits just south of Collinsville on Route 159.
The Big Bottle was built in 1949 when the town was the site of a bottling factory for Brooks brand “Old Original Rich & Tangy Catsup”… YUM!
…So, ok, Collinsville, Illinois… just where are our World’s Largest French Fries?
As you can see from the photograph above, this Big Bottle of Catsup looks really great to be almost 65 years old! That’s because the local Catsup Bottle Preservation Group was formed to save it from possible demolition in the 1990s. The preservation group led the efforts to restore the beauty of this unique and original attraction. In 2002, the Collinsville Catsup Bottle was even added to the National Register of Historic Places!
So thanks to the preservationists and the water tower’s owner, you and I can still take our VroomVroomVroom car rental and visit thisBig Thing To See. And hundreds, or maybe thousands, of locals drive right by it every day, and many of them are probably reminded that they promised to pick up dinner for their families!
To visit the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, drive your rental car to 800 South Morrison Avenue, Collinsville, Illinois.