Casey: The Small Town of Big Things

Jan 3, 2017 1 comments

At just over two square miles and with less than 3,000 inhabitants, the town of Casey in Illinois might be among the smaller towns of the United States, but it's home to some of the biggest things in the world. These include a wind chime, a rocking chair, knitting needles and a crochet hook, a mailbox, a pitchfork, a golf tee, a pair of wooden shoes, a coin, a birdcage, a yardstick, a pencil, a ear of corn, saguaro cactus and many more. Eight of these have found place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Behind all these big attractions is a single man —local businessman Jim Bolin.

Bolin is the vice president of Bolin Enterprises Inc., which started out as a small paint and body shop operating out of his family garage. Today it employs 240 people and does oil and natural gas pipeline maintenance work across nearly half the country. But not all businesses in Casey shared Bolin’s success. Over the years Bolin watched several Casey businesses close shop — a shoe factory, a tools and manufacturing shop, a hardware store, a feed store. When the recession hit in the late 2000s, even Bolin started to feel the crunch. That’s when he decided that he needed to boost tourism to the town to help the local economy.


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Being in the business of pipes, Bolin had access to large number of them, which he decided to fashion into a giant wind chime. It took Bolin two years to see the project through. When it was completed in 2011, the giant wind chime stood 54 feet tall. From there on, ideas just began to run wild.

Bolin Enterprises already had a paint shop, a welding shop and several talented craftspeople. They also had access to materials such as old telephone poles (which they used to make the rocking chair) and oil tanks (which became the top of a the giant mailbox and the bottom of the bird cage). Nearly all the things used to build these objects are recycled and repurposed materials.

One of the conditions for making into the Guinness Book is that the big things have to be functional. So when Bolin made the giant knitting needles, he had his cousin Jeanette Huisinga, who owns a yarn shop in town, climb the World’s Largest Rocking Chair with the World’s Largest Knitting Needles and knit what could be the start of the world’s largest scarf. The World's Largest Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook is now displayed in her shop.

Bolin’s big things are doing wonders for the local economy. For example, the candy store that shares the same building where the World’s Largest Wooden Shoes are housed makes about a hundred transactions every day to tourist who come to look at the shoes. Visitors also throw money into the shoes for good luck. The money gets donated to the Clark County Food Pantry. Similarly, the World’s Largest Mailbox helps sell pre-stamped postcards that visitors write notes on and slip into a slot into the mailbox. A hundred postcards a day are hand-stamped by the post office with a special World’s Largest Mailbox postmark.

Bolin has many more big things planned for the town. Over the next few months and years, hopefully, it will have a giant gavel, a giant rocking horse, big baseball bats, a giant golf club and the world’s largest teeter-totter big enough for a family to enjoy.

Related reading: The Big Things of Australia


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Photo credit: Stephen/Flickr


Photo credit: Stephen/Flickr


Photo credit: Stephen/Flickr

Sources: St Louis Post Dispatch /


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