Casey, Illinois, has always been a small town; located halfway between Indianapolis, Indiana and St. Louis, Missouri, Casey’s population has only topped 3,000 once since 1880 (and even then, barely). But it only takes one resident to make a big impact, and Casey has Jim Bolin to thank for its current reputation as a “small town full of big things” and unexpected tourist destination.
Born and raised in Casey, Bolin “felt like he owed something to the community that has given him the opportunity to build a life, home, and business,” according to the town’s local tourism website. That something turned out to be several world-record-holding big things, starting with the World’s Largest Wind Chime constructed by Bolin Enterprises, Inc. in 2011. Located on Casey’s East Main Street, the working chime is across the street from the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, a few blocks from the World’s Largest Mailbox, and not far from the town’s only stoplight (sadly, it’s a normal size—the World’s Largest Traffic Light Sculpture is located in London).
Casey is only 2.6 square miles, but is currently home to 12 official World’s Largest items and more than 20 other big things that aren’t quite large enough to claim a world title—or have since been eclipsed by larger items elsewhere, according to the Guiness Book of World Records. Whether they hold a record or not, most of Casey’s big things are located outside and free to visit year round, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch followed by a few dozen photo ops.
Here are 12 of the World’s Largest items and other must-see big things in Casey, Illinois.
1. World’s Largest Wind Chime
Start your larger-than-life scavenger hunt on Casey’s East Main Street, home to several of the world-record-holding objects including the first: The World’s Largest Wind Chime was assembled by Bolin from five metal tubes (the longest chime is 42 feet long) in 2011. Visitors are encouraged to ring the working chime, which features religious symbols “to add support and provide a reminder of the importance of faith in our daily lives.”
2. World’s Largest Teeter Totter
After ringing the chime, grab a friend and head just a few feet across Southeast 2nd Street to try out the World’s Largest Teeter Totter. Not all of Casey’s big things offer an interactive element, but roadtrippers both big and small are able to walk across this 82-foot-long seesaw (with gated sides) on select Saturdays.
3. World’s Largest Rocking Chair
Across East Main Street from the chime is the World’s Largest Rocking Chair; yes, the 46,200-pound chair actually rocks, but unfortunately it’s too large for visitors to try out themselves. Intricately carved with a dove and olive branch design, the 56-foot-tall wooden rocker is accompanied by a snippet of scripture that hints at the difficulty Bolin and a dozen others had constructing the chair, which took 2 years to build: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
4. World’s Largest Mailbox
Less than 0.25 miles away on the western side of Main Street, climb a few flights of stairs to get a look inside of the 5,743.41-cubic-foot, arched white metal box of the World’s Largest Mailbox. Don’t forget to bring a postcard or letter to drop into the working mailbox, which has a large, fully-functional red flag and features a good view of Casey’s small downtown; the bird’s eye view is one of the only perspectives in town that makes the nearby big things seem small (including a really big birdcage that doubles as a swing).
5. World’s Largest Barbershop Pole
Whether you’re due for a haircut or not, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the twirling red, white, and blue stripes of the World’s Largest Barbershop Pole, located outside of Tina’s Barber Shop on West Main Street. Walk-ins are welcome to settle into one of the antique barber chairs and get a haircut or shave from Tina at this fully-operational and well-reviewed shop.
While you’re admiring your new ‘do, don’t forget to swivel and take in a view of the nearly 15-foot-tall record-holding pole—and a really big pencil—through the shop’s large picture windows.
6. World’s Largest Golf Driver
Bolin creates most of his large items with recycled or salvaged materials; the World’s Largest Golf Driver is made with an aluminum light pole and persimmon wood. Stretching 45 feet tall and weighing 731 pounds, the driver is one of the only large objects to feature a non-Biblical passage. The accompanying quote from Martin Luther King Jr. should resonate with everyone who passes through Casey, not just the golfers: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Right next to the golf driver is another big thing and interactive photo op: Lift the bar of a really big mousetrap over your head, say cheese, and snap a photo beneath a sign that says “Help me! I’m trapped in Casey, Illinois!”
7. World’s Largest Wooden Shoes
The World’s Largest Wooden Shoes sculpture is one of the only large objects in Casey that’s located indoors. Time your visit to coincide with the Wildflour Bakery and Candy Company’s operating hours (they vary by day) to see the pair of world-record-holding wooden clogs. Before you leave, throw a coin into the shoes—each of which weighs approximately 2,500 pounds and can hold 15 people—to contribute to the Big Things Small Town Funds, and help maintain Casey’s attractions.
8. World’s Largest Swizzle Spoon
Casey’s local bar, Brownie’s Place, is located along South Central Avenue, across the street from the Moose Lodge and next to Uh-Oh Auto. Brownie’s plain white exterior would be indistinguishable from similar slices of small towns across the Midwest—if it wasn’t for the World’s Largest Swizzle Spoon, which hangs outside of the bar. Set against a graphic featuring a fizzy brown drink, the 11-foot-tall shiny silver spoon dubbed “Twizzle,” received its Guiness designation in 2019.
9. World’s Largest Golf Tee
Located on the outskirts of Casey, the World’s Largest Golf Tee was created to highlight the town’s public golf course. It took Bolin 5 months to craft the 6,659-pound wooden tee, which rises 30 feet tall above the green, and is visible from the pro shop or a special viewing platform near the parking lot.
10. World’s Largest Pitchfork
The World’s Largest Pitchfork was an entirely unique entry into the Guiness Book, which required Bolin to construct the pitchfork at least 10 times the size of the real item. The resulting 60-foot-long, 1,940-pound tool comprises reclaimed Western red cedar wood and streetlight illuminator arms. It sits outside of Richards Farm Restaurant, open since 1976 in a 1930’s barn.
11. World’s Largest Key
It’s nearly impossible to miss (or misplace) the World’s Largest Key, which stands 28 feet tall outside of a vintage auto shop in Casey. The exact replica of one of Bolin’s Chevy truck keys stands just a few feet away from another big thing, a 16-foot-long, 3,500-pound metal taco in the parking lot of Cilantros Grill & Cantina II, a good place to grab regular-sized tacos.
12. World’s Largest Gavel
Although he obviously loves his hometown, Bolin’s generosity is as big as his signature creations: According to the local tourism board, “The tourism created by the World Record items have given Casey a second chance, and Jim [Bolin] would love to see a revitalization of other communities through tourism. He believes that we are stronger together.”
Thanks to Bolin, the 12th World’s Largest item in Casey isn’t actually in Casey—located 20 miles east at a courthouse in Marshall, Illinois, you’ll find a nearly 17-foot-long, 5-foot-high gavel, designated the World’s Largest in 2019.