Casey Visitor Center Renovation

Interior of Casey Visitor Center

As 2016 comes to a close, “Memories of Casey” takes a look back and gives thanks for our town and for those who have made a difference in our communities.

The town of Casey has been very fortunate because the town, community, and past residents have come together to make improvements to our small town.

One such improvement that received outstanding community support was the Casey Visitor Center located in the “Heart of Casey.”

In 2004 the Catholic Diocese decided to close St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Casey and donate the building to the City of Casey. At that time the City devised a plan to use the historic 1908 building as the town’s new Visitor Center. The Visitors Center would be used to house meetings, gatherings, and the Casey Historical Society. The City immediately installed plumbing, so that a rest room and kitchenette could be installed after 96 years of not having plumbing access as well as installing two high efficiency furnaces.

From there the Casey Historical Society spearheaded a fundraising campaign to restore the beautiful stained glass windows in the building. With the help of numerous donors, including the Guthrie County Community Foundation, each window was removed and meticulously restored by Bovard Studios of Fairfield. In August of 2014 Casey lost their historic Community Building in a fire, and turned to the Visitor Center to act as their temporary meeting place. At that point the Historical Society donated funds to have central air conditioning installed.

Finally, in February of 2016 the group began their “Hearts of Gold” campaign to raise funds to repaint and restore the interior walls and plaster work, as well as having the entire building rewired in order to allow for more lighting. With the help of the Guthrie County Community Foundation, City of Casey, and the many generous supporters, the Historical Society was able to raise the needed funds to complete the project over the summer of 2016.

The beauty of living in a small town is having many interested and talented citizens able to step forward and volunteer their services and expertise. Colleen Mullen Conrad grew up in Casey. Her family ran the Mullen Funeral Home in Casey for many years. Colleen’s contacts and help have been invaluable to our cause. Colleen’s good friend happens to be an interior designer who was gracious enough to help us choose the colors for our restoration. We value Colleen’s vision and support from her and her family for their generous support of her home town.

In our quest for a painter, we discovered a young man named Clark Brown from Brayton. He was in Casey painting a house for Matt Wedemeyer. Matt suggested we check with him as a possible painter. It is not easy to find someone who would tackle a job this size and repair plaster and painting every detail of a historic church. We found Clark also had an appreciation for art and the architecture of the church and agreed to take on the project! He did a wonderful job and both the City of Casey and the Historical Society are extremely proud of his work.

Leland Acker and Bev and Chuck Watson so willingly offered to sand and refinish the hardwood floors. They refurbished the floors and did an outstanding job. Their hard work on the floors brought our community one step closer to having our Visitor Center look like a work of art. Our next step is carpet for the altar that should be completed soon after the first of the year. Terry Nelson will be installing the carpet.

We have had some exciting things happen in our building recently. The Better Keep Our Day Job Players recently held their play “Christmas In Adair County” and just last weekend the Casey Service Club hosted Santa’s annual visit in conjunction with a soup lunch.

The Casey Beautification Society is sponsoring a “Welcome Home” Beautification Fundraiser Concert which will be kicked off by Jason Walsmith and Mike Butterworth of The Nadas on Saturday, Feb. 4. This will be a fun event with some very talented musicians from the Des Moines area coming to our small town. The Nada’s are a very popular group and are excited to come to Casey. Jason Walsmith toured the building earlier and was so pleased with the sounds and acoustics that eminated from this Historic Building.

The building has also seen a dramatic increase in patronage from community members. The Casey coffee group has chosen this as their gathering place each week day at 10:00 a.m. Anyone wanting to stop by and share a cup of coffee with the group is welcome to come take a look at the improvements. The entire community has shown amazing pride towards our historic Visitor Center. We hope our Visitor Center can host many events in the months to come.

Sometimes unfortunate events happen that can devastate a community and we think that things are unfixable. Sometimes we want to give up. Through adversity come strength, growth and determination. The town of Casey and it’s supporters have shown just that. Have you ever heard the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining” and maybe another appropriate saying for the City of Casey’s would also be, “Every small town has many “Hearts of Gold.” And indeed it does!


Courtesy of The Adair News, 12/29/16. 

Guthrie County renovation historic building community culture Casey Adair News community development community center restoration community support

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