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Collinsville, Illinois is located in both Madison County and St. Clair County. As of 2020 the population census is around 24,633. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles outside of St. Louis, MO and is considered to be a part of the Metro-East area. It also the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower, which is the world’s largest ketchup bottle.

Right beyond the western boundaries of the city is the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. This is a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prehistoric urban complex was estimated to have thousands of people at its peak, which was prior to the European exploration of the area. The Largest man-made earthwork structure in North America known as Monks Mound, is a part of this complex.

Collinsville is the self-proclaimed “Horseradish Capital of the World”, and the town sponsors an annual Horseradish Festival. This area is said to produce 85% of the world’s horseradish, which is at such a high quality that China and Germany import it for gourmet usage. The Horseradish Festival is held typically during the first weekend in June at the Woodland Park which is located off Route 159 in Collinsville. This festival has a wide array of activities for all ages including live music, a beauty pageant, root-grinding demonstrations, and a 5K run. There is also a popular event called the Root Derby which is sponsored by American Family Insurance. This event has participants make a derby car from a horseradish root and race the “vehicles” during the festival.

This area is also known for its large ethnic Italian population, descendants of late 19th and early 20th century immigrants. Thus, the city of Collinsville hosts an annual Italian Fest during the fall. Italian Fest has been held since 1963 and is located on Main Street in uptown Collinsville. This tow-day festival includes vendors selling authentic food such as cannoli, Italian ices, bagna cauda, spumoni, and spiedini as well as live music. Other activities include a parade, Little Miss & Mister Pageant, Bocce Ball Tournament, a grape stomp, and a 5K run/walk.

Collinsville is the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower also referred to as “the world’s largest catsup bottle”. This is a 170-foot-tall water tower which is in the shape of a ketchup bottle and is listen on the National Register of Historic Places. The bottle along with the property was previously put up for sale for $500,000 on July 12th, 2014.

Within the city limits of Collinsville is the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. The Largest Pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico that was created and developed by the Mississippian culture.  This large park is designated as a National Historic Landmark and is one of the first eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites designated within the United States. At its peak in around 1200 CE, Cahokia had a population of around 20,000-30,000 people. This population was more than any city in the United States until after 1800. This settlement includes Monks Mound, which is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas, as well as 70 smaller mounds. Monks Mound at the base is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Besides the mounds, there is also a museum and visitors center which provides a movie and displays the lives of the ancient inhabitants.

During the colonial French era of this area, a group of French Catholic monks made a settlement on Monks Mound, after whom it was later named for. They cultivated agriculture on the different terraces of the mound. They also traded with bands of the Illini, who had migrated to the area after the Mississippian culture peaked.

The Collinsville, IL community was originally settled by the Cook family and a group of German American settlers who arrived by Conestoga wagon in 1812 from Pennsylvania. They had a hardware store and founded the Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Within five or six years, several new settlers arrived and begun to organize the legal work that was required to form a town. These original settlers are all buried either in the Cook Cemetery or Lutheran Cemetery.

There are several historical buildings that are still functioning in Collinsville. The City Hall, which was built in 1885, is still used today.  It was originally built on a property owned by the Collins family. This building features Italianate architecture with window crown. Near the City Hall is the State Bank of Collinsville which is located at the corner of Center and Main streets. Designed in 1916 by the architect Robert G. Kirsch, this structure features marble interior walls with a limestone exterior. Although it no longer is in operation as a bank, the building still impresses visitors.

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