Kane County History: St. Charles, IL -- 'Pickle Capital of The World'?

Kane County History: St. Charles, IL — ‘Pickle Capital of The World’?

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was contributed by St. Charles History Museum Director Lindsay Judd. All photos are courtesy of the St. Charles History Museum.

Pickle Packers International advertisement for their product “Chilly Dilly,” c. 1960s.

Did you know that St. Charles was once considered the pickle capital of the world?

A trade organization called Pickle Packers International aimed to promote pickles by sponsoring research, representing the pickle industry, and producing educational materials about pickles.

Bill “The Dill” Moore holding a fake pickle for a promotional picture, c. 1970s. 

In the 1960s, Bill Moor took over the company and was so enthusiastic about the company and his role, he gave himself the nickname, Bill “The Dill” Moore. A farmer at heart, Moore purchased a farm in St. Charles, although he didn’t grow any cucumbers, and moved Pickle Packers International to town in 1961.

The organization was located at 108 ½ Main St., where Moore dubbed it “International Pickle Plaza.”

Bill “The Dill” Moore and the Pickle Packers International marketed St. Charles as the pickle capital of the world. However, it appears this designation was purely based on the St. Charles’ convenient location and not pickle production.

Pickle Packers International ad campaign, c. 1960s.

Bill “The Dill” and PPI represented cucumber growers and pickle packers, so that meant getting pickles on people’s minds and into their stomachs was especially important!

Bill’s marketing strategy was to put pickles on everything and to associate pickles with as many aspects of life as possible. He used famous people to make pickles more appealing and also mirrored social movements to link pickles with American life.

One thing Bill “The Dill” Moore did very well was make pickles hip. Under Bill’s tenure at Pickle Packers International, pickle consumption in the United Sates grew exponentially.

Due in large part to the efforts of Bill and PPI, Americans consume 5,200,000 pounds of pickles per year!

Pickle Day at the Museum!

On Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, The St. Charles History Museum is hosting Pickle Day from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the museum.

This program is for children ages 7 to 10 and it will take participants through the history of pickles in St. Charles; a pickling demonstration; a pickle tasting by That Pickle Guy!; and a free hot dog bar generously sponsored by the Blue Goose Market!

This program is free, but a suggested donation of $5 per person is greatly appreciated! To register, please call the museum at 630-584-6967.

Read The Kane County History Series!

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