For years, Casey, IL was just another tiny town that, for most people, was a place that's just on the way to somewhere else. It's right off I-70 in between Indianapolis and St. Louis.... just like hundreds of other settlements. But, thanks to one man, it's starting to gain some attention on its own. James Bolin has been working to building a collection of "World's Largest" objects and other giant things right in the middle of town. It all started with the wind chimes, which Bolin was easily able to build thanks to his family's business, Bolin Enterprises, a paint and body shop-turned natural gas and oil pipe maintenance shop-- pipes are not in short supply around town. Seeing that he could help attract business back to Casey, he started to build even more giant things, turning the town into what surely must be the world's largest collection of world's largest things.
One of the coolest things about Casey is that the community has come together to make as many massive objects as possible. They now have a dedicated "Big Things in a Small Town" Workshop, where the large things are actually built. They encourage tourists to stop by and see them at work. It's no small feat to make a large object, so it's a totally one-of-a-kind experience. According to reports, Bolin eventually plans to slow down on the large objects (some day) and turn the workshop into a place where people with disabilities and children can learn to make and maintain the large things. Here, you can also hop on a trolley tour that takes you around town to all of the giant objects! It's free in the summer, on Saturdays between 10 AM and 2 PM.
Made from repurposed oil tanks, the World's Largest Mailbox is one of the coolest big things in town. Since anything Guinness Record-certified as the "world's largest" has to actually be functional, you can buy and mail pre-stamped postcards that feature the mailbox on them. When you slide your postcard into the slot, that giant red flag raises up, and the post office puts a special "world's largest mailbox" postmark on each one. Oh, and you can climb inside!
The giant bird cage isn't quite a record-breaker, but it's big enough to fit several people. Like the mailbox and the wind chime, most of it is made from recycled materials from Bolin Enterprises. It's definitely one of the most epic photo ops in Casey.
This giant pencil is 32 feet long and weighs over 500 pounds,,, and it's not even the world's largest! Another former record-breaking pencil is not too far away, in St. Louis at the City Museum; this one is 76 feet long and weighs 21,000 pounds. The actual world record-holder? It's 1,509 feet long, and is located in Germany.
Inspired by the challenge the curves of a pair of wooden shoes would present, Bolin had the world's largest pair crafted in his workshop, and placed them at Casey's Candy Depot. Stop by to marvel at the massive size, and grab some snacks for the road!
It might seem deceptively simple to make giant knitting needles and a crochet hook (they're kind of just really big pillars of wood, right?) but the real challenge is in getting them certified by Guinness... since anything declared the "world's largest" has to be functional, someone had to knit with them before the title could be bestowed on them. Jeanette Huisinga, the owner of the Yarn Studio, is a relative of Bolin, and he had the needles and hook made for her. She was the one who knitted ten rows of yarn on the massive needles, and now displays the tools in her shop.
The world's largest rocking chair is definitely one of the town's most impressive giant things. At 56 feet tall, it's not just the world's largest rocking chair, but the biggest chair in all of America. You can't sit on this one, but it really needs to be seen to be believed. Also, the world's second-largest rocking chair (formerly the largest) is just off Route 66 in Missouri... it's worth a stop, too.
This 36-foot-long yardstick is actually quite a bit longer than a yard. It's technically 12 yards long! It's a monster of a ruler, and it's still perfectly good for measuring things.
Another giant object that doesn't quite break a record, this massive wooden coin serves as Casey State Bank's tribute to the Big Things in a Small Town movement. The radius measures 13 feet, and it weighs 3,280 pounds, which is still nothing to sneeze at.
The idea to create a giant object to mesh with the rustic atmosphere at the town's local favorite eatery Richards Farm Restaurant and pay homage to the community's farming past led to the creation of the world's largest pitchfork. It's a massive 60 feet long and weighs 1,940 pounds... perfect for an enormous bale of hay!
The local country club is home to the world's largest golf tee. While a normal-sized golf tee is probably pretty simple to make, this 30 foot tall behemoth took 6 months, 60 gallons of glue, and 120 pounds of screws to make. It's crafted from pine, and weighs 6,659 pounds. Reportedly, a massive golf club to complement the tee is in the works!
The world's largest wind chime was the original giant object in town. Bolin was inspired by his mother's love for wind chimes, and knew that he could use old pipes from his job to make it. He spent two years planning the design and building the structure. It was installed in 2011, and it has been inspiring people (and making beautiful music) ever since!
The town has plenty of other giant things and world records in the works, so keep your eyes peeled. This little town's dedication to doing big things is truly formidable, and seeing the community welcome new visitors is definitely something worth celebrating.