Just between Boulder and Denver, Colorado, the small town of Westminster has a skyline with an unusual highlight: the world’s largest can of mushrooms. Savery Savory Mushrooms, to be precise.
Maybe it isn’t all that unusual. After all, Collinsville, Illinois, is host to the world’s largest catsup (or ketchup) bottle.
The water tower is located at 110th and Federal, at the site of the former Savery Mushroom Farm, which operated from about 1923 to 1953. The water tower was essential to the operation, as Colorado’s thin, dry mountain air was not suitable to growing mushrooms.
The water was pumped from an aquifer, stored in the tower and distributed, via gravity, to the mushroom growing and canning buildings, as well as on-site residences for mushroom farm employees.
As if a giant can of mushrooms wasn’t
tacky noticeable enough, the company added neon lights for 24-hour visibility sometime in the 1940s. Fortunately, when the water tower was refurbished, the city did without the neon.
In 2006, the water tank and surrounding lands were redeveloped as a city park, complete with the Mushroom Pond and the Mushroom Pond Trail.
From the parking lot at the trailhead, you have a perfect view of the Savery Savory Mushroom Farm Watertower.
The water tower is now on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties.
What is lacking about the tower, however, is any sense of whimsy or fun. I’m glad that I got to learn first about the world’s largest catsup bottle first. Collinsville, Illinois, has a lot of fun with their landmark.
Collinsville has the the Little Princess Tomato and Sir Catsup Contest during the annual World’s Largest Catsup Bottle® Festival Birthday Party & Car Show. (And don’t even get me started on the Little Miss Horseradish Festival Pageant!)
Do the people of Westminster realize what they are missing? Have they ever considered throwing a birthday party for their food-container-shaped water tower? Do they have pageants themed around it? Did they even know it would make an ideal tie-in with a car show?
Come on, people of Westminster; Collinsville is way ahead of you when it comes to civic pride and celebration of their water tower.
The park is beautiful. It looks like a great place for a walk or a bike ride, but it could be so much more. Maybe they could get sponsorship from Nintendo and rename the park Mushroom land for the weekend of my proposed Mushroom Festival.
They could have Mr. and Mrs. Mushroom. They could have samples of dozens of types of mushrooms for taste tests. Heck, with Colorado’s new marijuana laws, maybe they could make room for the hallucinogenic variety, too. It could be a real trip.
But for now, the Savery Savory Mushroom Farm Water Tower sits silently and stately in Westminster, waiting for someone – anyone – to give it a birthday party.