By Mary Wisniewski
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Want a giant historic order of fries with that?
A water tower shaped like a 170-foot-tall ketchup bottle is for sale in southern Illinois, along with an adjacent warehouse, an owner said on Wednesday. Fans fear the 65-year-old landmark, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, might be in peril if a sympathetic buyer isn’t found.
Bethel-Eckert Enterprises used the Collinsville warehouse for a food distribution business but is now selling the property along Route 159 for $500,000, said co-owner Larry Eckert.
The red-and-white tower was built in 1949 for the bottlers of Brooks ketchup, according to catsupbottle.com, the website of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle fan club. The red-and-white tower was restored in 1995 with funds from volunteers, Eckert said.
Eckert, who has not had any offers yet, hopes a buyer will preserve the bottle.
But not every Illinois historic landmark has been saved, said Mike Gassmann, who calls himself the “Big Tomato” and helps run the club.
“I don’t even like to think about that,” Gassmann said in an interview with the St. Louis Fox television affiliate.
Collinsville, home to the annual Catsup Bottle festival, is about 15 miles from St. Louis.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Bill Trott)