Brooks Catsup Bottle: Collinsville, IL

Year:

1949

The giant Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, Illinois is a classic bit of novelty roadside architecture. It was built just off of Route 66 in 1949 for the Brooks Catsup Company and is now a National Historic Landmark.

The story starts in 1891 with the Canning and Packing Company. The business had a rough start with many owners until Everett and Elgin Brooks took it over in 1907 as the Triumph Catsup and Pickle Co. In 1920, the brothers sold to the American Cone and Pretzel Company, but the Brooks name remained because of its popularity and local reputation. The name was passed down through many subsequent owners.

Brooks Catsup was at one time the #1 seller among tangy catsup, and the owners were clearly cunning marketers. They had large rotating neon signs in Belleville, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri before building the iconic Catsup Bottle water tower in 1949. The plant operated until the 1960s; its decline paralleled the economic effects on the area as the new interstate highway replaced Route 66.

Photographer:

Matthew Dickey