Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey-- Part 4: About That Rocking Chair

Maps showing where the "Big Things" are can be picked up at businesses throughout the town.  They are also listed at Jim Bolin's website, along with the dimensions of those big things.

The world's largest rocking chair (which had been formerly owned by the huge rocking chair at Fanning Outpost a little ways west of Cuba, Missouri) is 56 feet high and weighs in at 23 tons.

The town Casey pronounced "KAY-zee" by locals has made the record book for largest golf tree at the Casey Country Club; the nearly 12-foot-long wooden shoes at Casey's Candy depot and the 60-foot pitchfork outside Richards Farm restaurant.

Huge knitting needles and a crochet hook inside the Yarn Studio, had ranked as the world's largest until dethroned by bigger ones in England


Friday, January 24, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey, Illinois-- Part 3: 12 of the World's Largest According to Guinness

And, Casey's collection of all things big keeps getting bigger.  Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records traveled to Casey in late September 2019 to certify the world's largest key, golf club, gavel, twizzle spoon, teeter-totter and barbershop pole.  The Casey area now has twelve of the largest things.

Then there is Jim Bolin's world's largest mailbox which is 60-feet high and has a working red flag.  People can actually go inside and up to the box because of concealed stairs in the post.

Said Mr. Bolin:  "It's awesome.  Now that we've got 12, it's got even more pull for people to get off the interstate.  We're hitting everybody's interests, I'm hoping."

Jim Bolin is 55 and began his "Big Things, Small Town" project in 2011 when he created the world's largest wind chime made of giant pipes as much as 42 feet long, hanging from a 56-foot stand.  And, yes, they clang in a slight breeze.

Bolin is a local businessman and has 20 oversized things (not all are world record size) and says Casey gets as many as 2,000 people a week in the warmer months.  Some make the 200 mile drive from Chicago or travel from other states to see the items and take selfies with them.


Goodbye Dixie Highway?

I will be writing about this in my Civil War II: The Confederacy Under Attack blog as this is just another of their attempts to erase history.  Just click on  the My Blogs list to the right of this to go to the site.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

If You Want to Cruise the Dixie Highway, Better Do It Soon, Well, At Least in South Florida

All that boo-hoo-hoo about anything Confederate that is going on these days is about to target the Dixie Highway.  There are those who believe the name implies the "S" word (slavery) and, of course, the evil, horrible "C" word (Confederate).  And, lately, they have been pretty much getting their way.

An article in the January 20, 2020, New York Times   'We've got to change this':  Has Dixie Highway reached  the End of the Road? by Audra D.S. Burch.

In South Florida, leaders are discussing  whether to change  the name of Dixie Highway, which some say glorifies the nation's racist history.

These anti-Confederates have been very successful in their efforts since the murders in Charleston, South Carolina, so it is most likely they will succeed in their drive to do away with the racist highway.

Just Letting You Know.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Things Getting Bigger in Casey-- Part 2: Giant Rocking Chair, Pitchfork, Golf Tee and Wooden Shoes

The first time I really heard about all the bigger things they had in Casey was when Liz and I were at Rich Henry's Rabbit ranch in Staunton, Illinois.  A couple came in and were asking where the largest rocking chair in the world was.  We quickly told them it was just west of Cuba, Missouri, at the Fanning Outpost.

They were using an app which said it was at Casey, Illinois, and didn't know that was on Route 66.  So, someone had built a bigger rocking chair.

People in Casey credit its new-found popularity to Jim Bolin, who is the creator of these giant, one-of-a-kind attractions.  Let's face it, the world's largest rocking chair could pull in tourists, but Jim has created a lot of the world's largest and really, really big things for Casey.

These big things include, besides the rocking chair, the world's largest pitchfork, world's largest golf tee, world's largest wooden shoes and they are hyped on blue signs along I-70.  They keep people in Casey for longer than a pit stop or pop drink.

And, the collection keeps getting bigger.

So They Built A Bigger Rocking Chair.  --RoadReallyBig

Things Getting Bigger in Casey-- Part 1: New Businesses and More Tourism

From the October 13, 2019, Chicago Tribune  "Big things happening" by Jay Jones.

Once a sleepy town, business is now booming in Casey, Illinois, thanks to giant one-of-a-kind attractions.

This town, and one individual in particular, is following an age-old formula for increasing visitors dating back to the glory days of Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.  Borrowing from that movie, "Build it and they will come."

Build it they did and come they did.

And, it has attracted new businesses to Casey (population 2,700).  In late August, employees at a new pretzel shop were handing out samples at the town's only stoplight.  Nearby, a two-year-old hotel was welcoming  customers.

Casey is on I-70, about half way between St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Bigger Is Better.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 20, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: De Anza Motel Sign Relighted

DECEMBER 30--  The De Anza Motor Lodge sign in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will be relighted Sunday.  It is located at 4301 Central Avenue.

The De Anza has undergone big rehabilitation and rebuilding in the last several years and is reopening as higher-end apartments.

Always glad to see an old motel finding new life.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: Time Is Running Out to Save the Gasconade River Bridge

DECEMBER 5--  Located near Hazelgreen, Missouri, a really small, unincorporated town about half way between Lebanon and Waynesville, the bridge was closed in 2014 due to severe deterioration.  It is over 90 years old and carried Route 66 over the Gasconade River until then.

A new bridge has been built a few yards north of the original one and south of the I-44 bridge.

No progress has been made between MoDOT and groups hoping to save it.  Another meeting is planned Dec. 9.  If anew bridge owner and finances aren't found before part way through 2020, the bridge may be torn down.

That would be too bad as that is a really neat looking old bridge (back when a bridge looked like a bridge, not a bunch of concrete blocks lined up by the side).  We were fortunate to get to drive over it on many occasions before it was closed.

They could make it into a neat park, perhaps with picnic tables on the bridge deck.

Let's Hope Something Is Found.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 17, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: More 66 Art and a New Bike/Pedestrian Path in Oklahoma

I take these from the Route 66 News blog spot.  I only take the ones of most interest to me, but if you want to know pretty much everything going on along our old road, this is where you want to go.  There is an entry every day with a lot more information and pictures.  Where you want to go for 66.

DECEMBER 1--  Road art goes up on 66 near Calumet, Oklahoma.  This is the art of John Cerney of Salinas, California, and consists of an 18-foot Paul Bunyan muffler man, an 18-foot tall Uniroyal Gal and a clean-shaven muffler man.

Oh Boy, something else to see.

DECEMBER 4--  Route 66 Trail project in Edmond Oklahoma, to begin this month.  It will be a trail for bicyclists and pedestrians and will cost $2.6 million.

Wouldn't it be great if the whole Route 66 was turned into a bike/walking path, along, of course, with roadway for vehicles.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Along 66, Nov. 2019: Preservation Plan for Oklahoma's Route 66 Sidewalk Highway

NOVEMBER 19--  Ottawa County, Oklahoma to proceed with preservation plan for the Sidewalk Highway near Miami.

This will include a bike and hiking trail.

Much to neat of a Route 66 aspect to let go.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Auto Gunfight Between Cops and Automobile Bandits in DeKalb County in 1919

From the Nov. 27, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1919, 100 Years Ago.

"Three of the four alleged automobile bandits who chased over the countryside from Somonauk to Kaneville  in a running gunfight on September 18, and are now in DeKalb County jail at Sycamore. will plead guilty when arraigned December 8, State's Attorney Smith says.

"These men , it is charged, stole $500 worth of tires from the Bruenig and Dolder garage at Somonauk.  In the pursuit which followed, all but one, dubbed the 'patriach' because of his white hair and 75 years, were wounded."


1994, 25 Years Ago.

"The City of DeKalb recently erected a new welcome sign at the south entrance on Route 23 near Brad Manning Ford."


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Along 66, Nov. 2019: A Museum Begins and Two Signs Relit

NOVEMBER 16--  Construction has begun on the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum which is in Joliet on 9 West Cass Street, Route 66.

How about that, rock and roll on Route 66.  Just sounds kinda right, you know.  Always room for another museum, especially of something I love so much.  Hopefully they will have a lot on the Chicago bands of the 60s.

NOVEMBER  17--  The Roy's sign in Amboy, California glows again for the first time in 30 years.

NOVEMBER  24--  The fourth new or restored neon sign has been lighted on Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It is at the U.S. Studio 66 at 5202 E. 11th Street (Route 66) just west of the historic Desert Hills Motel.  Two other neon signs are at Billy Ray's Catfish & BBQ and Tally's Good Food Cafe.

More power to Tulsa for doing this program.

Neon Is Good.  --RoadNeon

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Ca.-- Part 4: About Those "Okies"

The migrants from the Dust Bowl were derisively called "Okies" and were the subject of discrimination by the local population.

The plight of the Okies and a description of Weedpatch Camp were chronicled by novelist John Steinbeck in his book "The Grapes of Wrath."  The book is dedicated to camp administrator Tom Collins who was the model of the character Jim Rawley in the book.

Migrant advocate Dr. Myrnie Gifford revealed in a 1937 Kern County Public Health Department annual report that 25% of the Okies  in Arvin Federal Labor Camp  tested positive for  a disease associated with agricultural dust exposure called "valley fever."

The camp was subsequently taken over by the Kern County Housing Authority which administers it as  the Sunset Labor  Camp to assist migrant workers.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Ca.-- Part 3: Three Original Buildings Remain

A great name for a camp such as this one if you ask me.

The camp originally had canvas tents on plywood platforms for  residents and permanent buildings for the community functions such as administration, community hall, post office, post office, library and barber shop.  The resident tents were later replaced by permanent single story wood frame shacks.

There are three original buildings remaining of the camp that make up the National Register of Historic Places property:  the community hall, the post office and library.    These last two buildings, however, were moved to be next to the community hall to make the beginnings of a historic park.

In 2007, the exteriors of the library and post office were renovated

The buildings and camp are significant to the history of California because of the migration of people to the state trying to escape the Dust Bowl.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Cal.-- Part 2: Providing Hygiene, Running Water and Security to the Displaced

Because of lack of hygiene  and security, these type of camps were not acceptable, so the Farm Security Administration (FSA) built labor camps consisting of permanent buildings with running water, schools and libraries.  The FSA also provided help in finding work.  The first administrator of Weedpatch was Tom Collins.

Between April 1935 and December 1936, the Federal government's New Deal Resettlement Administration (RA)  had relocated many struggling  rural and urban families to planned communities.

Weedpatch camp, however, was constructed by the Works Progress Administration  (WPA).  It was located on the outskirts of the small towns of Arvin and Weedpatch.  The camp is now located in an unincorporated area of Kern County, south of Bakersfield.