Casey, Illinois: a "gigantic" good time in this small town
With an impressive collection of the "world's largest" things, Casey, IL is a must-see for anyone road tripping across the midwest...
We'd heard about Casey, Illinois over the years... This mythical little town in southeast Illinois that boasted the world's largest collection of, well, the world's largest stuff. It seemed intriguing enough, but we never had a chance to get over and check it out. Thankfully, a trip from Indianapolis, IN to St. Louis, MO took us right by the exit for Casey. It was time to check something off our bucket list!
What we found was a little town packed with perfect photo ops and loads of charm. So how did this town of just a few thousand come to be the epicenter for gigantic things like the world's largest rocking chair and the world's largest golf tee?
According to the Illinois Office of Tourism, the metaphorical “giant ball,” got rolling when local businessman Jim Bolin and his family started brainstorming some ideas to boost their community. What started as an idea to open a tea shop evolved into the funkiest collection of stuff you’ll find in any small town.
“I decided if we were going to do this, we would have to think outside the box,” Bolin told EnjoyIllinois.com.
Bolin started by creating the world’s largest wind chime, a 54-foot tall creation recognized by Guiness in 2011. From there, folks just wanted more and more… Bolin delivered by opening the Whitling Whimsy Cafe and creating a whole bunch of giant sculptures, many tied to the local businesses in the area.
Casey, IL's World Record Holders
While there are several larger-than-life creations tucked around town, Casey is probably most well-known for its 12 record holders. Make sure you see each of these during your time in town:
World's Largest Windchime World's Largest Golf Tee World's Largest Rocking Chair World's Largest Wooden Shoes World's Largest Pitchfork World's Largest Mailbox World's Largest Key World's Largest Gavel World's Largest Twizzle Spoon World's Largest Golf Driver World's Largest Barber Shop Pole World's Largest Teeter Totter
Casey, IL is much more than just big stuff...
We came to Casey in search of giant stuff. Plain and simple. What surprised us, however, was how many shops and restaurants this quaint town was able to support thanks to Bolin's "outside the box," idea. From the Whitling Whimsy Cafe to Casey's Candy Depot to the Yarn Store, the downtown area is bustling with charming places to shop, eat, and drink.
Unfortunately, we were in town a little early in the morning, but we'd suggest stopping by mid-day or later so you can patronize some of these local businesses.
Casey is also on the National Historic Road, a popular road trip for those of us that love the old highways.
If you're a softball fan, the town also boasts the Casey Softball Museum.
For more information on planning your trip to Casey, IL, visit their tourism website.
All things considered, we wish we'd made it to Casey much earlier, but we also can't wait to go back and see what new creations pop up. If anything, Casey stands as a model for what a little unorthodox thinking can do for a small town in the heartland of America.