One might think that the "Pickle Capital of the World" is somewhere out west, in the deep down south, or even overseas, but if you stand in downtown St. Charles and look around, you will see the "Pickle Capital of the World."
Yes! It's true.
St. Charles holds this distinction, and it's all due to Pickle Packers, Inc. Pickle Packers International or PPI as it is commonly referred to was founded in 1892 as a promotional agency responsible for educating consumers about the benefits of pickles. This non-profit agency relocated to the St. Charles area in the early 1960's thanks in part to William Moore who resided in St. Charles and had his Pickle Packers International office at 108 ½ East Main Street. He was in charge of promoting pickles to the public and proceeded to put the pickle image on anything and everything available. Purses and phones were designed in the familiar pickle shape as well as earrings, greeting cards, memo pads and much, much, much more. This group now calls Washington, DC home; however, while in St. Charles, the group's then-president, Bill "The Dill" Moore, unofficially named St. Charles the "Pickle Capital of the World."
The name stuck..well, the Illinois General Assembly helped out with this a bit, too: in 1978 the legislature made the proclamation official, which didn't hurt in cementing the name into St. Charles' history.
PPI gained national attention for the St. Charles area in the 1990's when it was an answer to a question on the television game show Jeopardy. Answer – This Midwestern town is the Pickle Capital of the World. Question – What is St. Charles, Illinois? PPI called St. Charles home until 2004 when the non-profit, membership based agency was handed over to an international marketing firm based in Washington D.C.
Interestingly there is no history of pickles being manufactured, packed or cucumbers grown in St. Charles!