Greetings from Small-Town America: Casey, Illinois

From a giant mailbox to an oversized wind chime, this little Midwestern town has twelve things that are the largest in the world.

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- Posted on May 27, 2021

Jim Bolin in front of the World's Largest Rocking Chair; photo by Michael D. Tedesco

Casey, Illinois, is a small town—population: 2,700—but we’re home to some really big things. Literally. We’ve got 12 attractions that are the world’s largest, according to Guinness World Records.

How did that come about? It goes back to my wife and daughter wanting to open a tea shop. I wanted to draw more people to Casey to support our local businesses. One night, the sound of wind chimes gave me the crazy idea to build some that were tall enough to break the world record. My family owns Bolin Enterprises Inc., a pipeline and tank maintenance company. Between jobs, our employees and I recycled old pipeline and built a 54-foot-tall wind chime in the middle of town.

There’s a cross at the top. I’m a man of faith, and I wanted the wind chime to point people to God. The welder who worked on it used religious symbols—the ichthus and the Star of David—for the braces that stabilize it. My wife wanted to include a piece of Scripture, and we chose Romans 1:16.

We assembled the wind chime in November 2011. In order to qualify for a Guinness World Record, the object has to be able to perform its intended function, so the chimes had to, well, chime. It takes wind of six miles per hour or greater to move them, but they work. And that’s how tiny Casey, Illinois, set the record for the World’s Largest Wind Chime. I put signs along I–70, advertising the record-setting chime. It wasn’t long before traffic in town got busier, especially with out-of-state cars.

 

I thought the wind chime would be a onetime project. Little did I know. In 2012, to publicize the town’s golf course, my crew and I built a 30-foot-tall, 6,659-pound golf tee. In 2013, Guinness representatives verified it as the World’s Largest Golf Tee.  

When you walk up Main Street, you’ll come across 12 record-setting objects. You can mail a letter from the World’s Largest Mailbox. It takes 10 men to rock the World’s Largest Rocking Chair! We’ve got the World’s Largest Wooden Shoes, the World’s Largest Barbershop Pole and the World’s Largest Teeter Totter.

You’ll also see about 20 items that don’t set a record but are still big. Really big. You and your family can pile into our giant hanging birdcage and take pictures in front of our enormous mousetrap or super-size pizza slicer. There’s a behemoth bookworm by our library and a huge toy glider plane at our airport. I used a lot of recycled materials, including telephone poles, to construct the attractions and kept putting Scripture on each. And I plan to build more.

Come to Casey and see these big things for yourself! You’ll find that folks in our small town have big hearts too. We love visitors!

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