Baldwin boasts world's largest brown trout sculpture
BALDWIN — History was made in Baldwin on Sunday afternoon when the world’s largest brown trout sculpture was extended high in the air — an icon signifying the cool, clear waters of the Baldwin River as the first place the brown trout was introduced in North America in 1884.
Spearheaded by the Village of Baldwin Downtown Development Authority, the 25-foot tall and 8-foot wide trout sculpture is designed to leap from a river-themed park east of M-37 in central downtown.
Almost $66,000 has been raised through private donations, sales of donor rocks, plaques and commemorative silver fish which will be landscaped into the sidewalk at the park.
Grants from Lake County Community Foundation, Great Lakes Energy People Fund and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs also funded the project, according to DDA Chair Jane Allison.
“We celebrate the brown trout’s meaningfulness to our area,” Allison said. “People want to see the biggest, largest and most famous icons, and this will help draw people downtown to visit the neat little shops. It will bring more opportunity and economic success to the area because we have so much to offer for such a little town. We have Blessing of the Bikes, Troutarama, Sounds of the Forest at Wenger Pavilion and the beautiful Lake County Historical Museum. For such a little town, the community does an amazing job.”
Ivan Iler, the artist from St. Johns who created the masterpiece in his garage, was on site to get the sculpture off the ground.
“It feels amazing to install the statue. The main reason it is so amazing is because of the reception we had from the people here,” he said, beaming with pride. “People coming out to be a part of this moment is very welcoming. This is a beautiful community.”
Jill Engelman, curator for Lake County Historical Museum, noted the historical significance.
“We very excited about the installation of the trout sculpture,” she said. “It is history being made. I believe it will bring more tourism to Lake County and we are excited about that.”