Exploring Iowa's White Pole Road: Casey, cobblestone, and the veterans' mural

May 4, 2018

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I traveled the entire distance of Iowa's "White Pole Road". The White Pole Road essentially runs parallel to Interstate 80 between the city of Dexter in Dallas County all the way to the city of Adair in Adair County with the communities of  Menlo, Casey, and Stuart, all of Guthrie County, in the middle.

 

The road has a lot of history. It goes back over a 100 years and to the early days of automobiles. Their website, which is a wealth of information and road trip ideas, does a much better job summarizing it than I. It is, at it's very basic level, a stretch of highway with hundreds of white painted telephone poles.

This byway is an important economic development amenity for this area and these communities. I'm sure it brings people just like me (and hopefully you!) to come and go an an adventure. It's been well branded and it's less than a hour drive from the Des Moines metro and a little more than an hour from Omaha or Council Bluffs. 

Previously, in this series of posts about the White Pole Road, I've profiled Dexter, Stuart, and Menlo as well as some historical sites of crimes committed by Bonnie and Clyde or Jesse James and his gang of outlaws.

 

If you continue on heading west out of Menlo, eventually you'll run into the community of Casey.

 

At just over 400 residents as of the last census, it's a town that is on the verge of celebrating sesquicentennial (150 years) next year.

I spent some time walking and driving around. Of everything I saw, perhaps the gorgeous veteran's mural painted on the side of a building in the downtown area was the true highlight.

 

 

A lovely gazebo with benches inside has been placed nearby with American and P.O.W. flags flapping from a pole. There are some nicely groomed bushes as well. It's a peaceful little area and the art work is impressive. The artwork depicts scenes from several different American wars and conflicts.

 

 

I really loved the cobblestone pavement bricks utilized to construct the streets. That gives some great historic character.

 

Continuing downtown, I spotted several buildings - though some were not in used or the businesses appeared to be closed.

 

I remember seeing Kingery Awning company every year in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair.

 

 

 

 Is the Casey Cafe still open?

 

 The public library looks like it has some activity.

 I found a nice bank building that appears to still be in use.

I really wanted to check out the Crow's Nest General Store, but it appeared to be closed. I don't know if it is closed just for that particular day or closed permanently but there looked to be quite a few antiques inside, just from looking through the window. It's a neat looking building.

The sign welcoming you to Casey advertises that it is antique country and that they have an antique festival, but there was quite a bit of construction in front of the antique mall. If it has plans to open again after the construction, I'd love to come back and saunter through.

I found a bar with some anti-gun signs taped to the window. I liked the old fashioned hitching post out front. 

Of course, like just about every small town in Iowa, there's a grain elevator with other associated buildings used to house inputs, grain, or other equipment used by the co-op.

 

 

 

I spotted a beautiful old church building but a sign out front said it was now the Casey visitor center.

However, I did spot a different church building elsewhere.

Of course, they had a small water tower and a small city park, too.

 

I hope Casey can utilize their upcoming sesquicentennial to really rally the community together toward building something great for the next 25 years. Nothing seems galvanize a small town like a community milestone celebration or a visit from RAGBRAI. I hope the present and past inhabitants of Casey really come together to throw a great celebration next year and then use that momentum to make something big happen.

 

Check back for a post on Adair, which will be the sixth and final post in this series on the White Post Road. As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile in Guthrie County or in any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you would like to host the Iowa Adventurer or have a good idea, please drop me a note through my website

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