Squealing on the “Seven Wonders of Illinois” Competition


“The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, in Collinsville.”

I have some more thoughts about the Seven Wonders of Illinois competition. It seems to me that the Illinois Bureau of Tourism is making a brave-but-flawed attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Illinois has a long tradition of “selling every part of the pig except the squeal”.

Initially I thought that the tourism bureau’s problem is that the state is not tourist material. The Wilmette Temple was certainly up against a fairly motley group of contenders in its section, as I pointed out earlier. It gets worse: Only recently have the 170-foot catsup bottle in Collinsville and the white squirrels of Olney been eliminated from other sections. The Cozy Dog Drive-In at Springfield is, amazingly, in the finals. It’s up against Allerton Park and Retreat Center near Monticello. Is that all Central Illinois can offer?

You may well be left with the overwhelming impression that there’s not a lot to see in Illinois. But you’d be wrong. Wiki points out many other wonders that the tourist board inexplicably overlooked. For example, “Chicago Pile-1, the world’s first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in the world’s first nuclear reactor”

I reckon that the Illinois Bureau of Tourism should identify the state’s strengths, and go with that – “Illinois, the sunset industry capital of the world”. Would the Wilmette Temple be a good fit? Only time will tell.

The Seven Wonders of Illinois

Seven Wonders of Illinois logo

You’re invited to cast your vote for the seven wonders of Illinois. The state has been divided into seven sections and each section has a number of contenders. The Chicagoland section includes the Wilmette Baha’i temple. But it’s up against some stiff competition – naked mole rats, some architect’s house (no, not the Louis Bourgeois residence), an open sewer, a couple of gardens (one with a miniature cornfield – hey, I’d love to watch that growing), a gay theatre and a horse-torturing outfit.