While on our road trip we discovered that Casey, Illinois has been going about establishing all sorts of unique world records as part of an economic development, placemaking, and tourism-building effort entitled “Big Things in a Small Town“. As a result, Casey is now the home of the world’s largest rocking chair, teeter-totter, wind chime, birdcage, golf tee, barber pole, mailbox, and much more. In addition, the town is dotted with whimsical “big things” that aren’t necessarily the world’s largest, but fun all the same – like a yardstick, mouse trap, pencil, and many other unique items. Needless to say, children of all ages enjoy wandering around town to see these fanciful creations.
In addition, the town has spruced up its streets, added landscaped gardens, and installed wayfinding signs. As a result, the community is a fun and entertaining place to visit when traveling along the Historic National Road (US 40) or nearby Interstate 70. Furthermore, it is very evident that the campaign has succeeded as you see tourists from across the country walking about town photographing the sights. Downtown Casey is easily the most vibrant (and fun) central business district along the National Road corridor in Illinois.
As a retired planner, it was wonderful to see how well the placemaking/tourism campaign “BigThings in a Small Town” has done. Everyone involved deserves a great deal of credit. So…next time you are driving along Interstate 70 between Indianapolis and St. Louis, be sure to venture off the highway and walk around downtown Casey, Illinois. It’ll warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. Kudos to the whole town!