CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Charleston is nowhere near an ocean, but that hasn’t stopped one shark from making big waves.
One day in 2011, Pat Goodwin wanted to create something unique, so he built a 16-foot-tall shark out of paper mache and other materials near his home on N. County Road 1200 East. The shark is named Grace, after his neighbor.
“When she passed one day, I asked her daughter if I could name the shark after her mom and she loved the idea,” said Goodwin. “That’s how the name came about.”
Grace spends her days in the pasture for everyone to see and enjoy. People visit and snap photos with the shark, whether Grace is dressed up for the occasion or not.
“It’s different and the only 16-foot shark I know of in Illinois,” said Goodwin. “Folks look forward to the next theme, and if it’s been a few months, they will ask, ‘when are you going to dress Grace?'”
Grace is one photogenic fish, often used for photos with wedding parties, senior pictures, and the Mattoon High School cross-country team. She is popular on Facebook too with over 1,400 followers.
“You can always tell when Grace is in a scavenger hunt when a steady line of cars come by, get a quick picture with her and drive off,” said Goodwin. “I have always built some crazy stuff, but Grace has been a landmark for several years now. She is even on Google maps.”
Goodwin has given everyone who stops by to see Grace a special name: Sharker.
“My favorite moment with Grace is seeing the public having fun with her,” said Goodwin. “I enjoy them stopping by for the pictures and I often offer to take the photo so everyone can get in the picture too.”