Collinsville’s motto, “Wide-open spaces, close to city places,” sums up the hospitality district of southern Illinois, just minutes from downtown St. Louis’ activities and attractions. Its major chain hotels range from economy to luxury, and its restaurants’ menus go from down-home family style to gourmet fare. All support services and conveniences for conventions or tourists are available in the safety and comfort of a hometown environment.
The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which is on the World Heritage List, is the city’s best-known attraction, along with Fairmount Park Racetrack and its horse racing, and Gateway Center, a premier convention center. Perhaps the city’s most treasured attraction is the “world’s largest catsup bottle” (aka the Brooks Catsup water tower), standing sentry over the crumbling Brooks Catsup bottling plant. The water tower was built in 1949 and was lovingly restored in 1995.
Collinsville is also known as the horseradish capital of the world. Two-thirds of the world’s horseradish is grown here in the American Bottoms, and an international horseradish festival is held in early June. Additionally, the annual Italian Fest in September attracts thousands of people who share a fondness for Italian food, entertainment, grape stomps, bocce ball tournaments, parades and street dancers.
The population of nearly 25,000 is 10 miles from downtown St. Louis. Interstates 64, 55, 70 and 255 frame the former coal-mining town, which has become a quiet haven for many who work in St. Louis. Housing is plentiful and affordable, and lots tend to be large.
The city is home to Collinsville Community Unit School District No. 10. Area students and residents are served by a local library with programming for children and adults and next door’s historic Blum House, a Queen Anne-style Victorian home that can be rented for meetings and special occasions.
Go to www.discovercollinsville.com, the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce website, for more information, or contact the chamber at 618-344-2884. The City of Collinsville’s website is www.collinsvilleil.org.