COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Can you imagine the St. Louis skyline without the Gateway Arch?
That’s what fans of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville say it would be like if their icon was taken away.
The 170-foot tall former water tower and the surrounding property are for sale, with an asking price of $500,000.
Few love the Catsup Bottle as much as Mike Gassmann, the self-appointed “Big Tomato” who heads up the fan club and website.
He knows he’s not alone.
“It appeals to everybody from the catsup scene who put catsup on their breakfast cereal, to historic preservationists and architects, to people who actually collect photos of water towers,” he says.
He says it’s Collinsville’s Arch or Eiffel Tower.
There aren’t any takers yet, but Collinsville merchant Mary Davis is worried that a new owner could scrap the tower and make it difficult for out-of-towners to get directions.
“You tell people if you’re going to meet somewhere, ‘Hey, I’ll meet you down the hill at the Catsup bottle,’ or ‘Come up the hill, go to the Catsup bottle and make a left,'” she says.
Jerry Dallape with Dean’s Liquor on Main says tourism would take a hit if something happened to the landmark.
“This is the biggest catsup bottle in the world, and they’ve come to Collinsville just to see it, and they’ll stop by looking for souvenirs or whatever,” he says.
Working in the bottle’s favor is its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, perhaps limiting what a future owner could do with it.
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