New Historic Roadside Marker
Commemorates Original Site of The Big Duck
Unveiling November 19, 1 PM
The Flanders Village Historical Society on behalf of the Friends of The Big Duck has been awarded a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for a new historic roadside marker. It commemorates pioneer duck rancher George Pugsley’s early twentieth century Pekin duck farm and the original site of The Big Duck (1931-1936), which has since moved to Flanders. The official unveiling is scheduled for November 19, 1 PM.
The bright blue and yellow marker is located just east of 1058 West Main Street in the state right of way. It was recently installed, courtesy of the Town of Riverhead, with the help of Town Engineer Drew Dillingham and with the backing and approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission chaired by Richard Wines. Locals may remember that the last duck farm to be located here was Carmine Bruno’s Duck Farm, which was established in the mid-thirties.
“We are grateful that the Flanders Village Historical Society worked with us to complete this project, which has been on our agenda for years,” said Neil Young, president of Friends of The Big Duck. “This marker completes the historical record and reminds us that The Big Duck is connected to the whole story of duck farming on the East End.”
The new roadside marker, which was funded by the Pomeroy Foundation serves to commemorate the historical significance of the original site of The Big Duck, which served as a roadside stand conceived and managed by Martin Maurer. He later moved the operation to Flanders. Many people are not aware that the idea of The Big Duck was first hatched in Riverhead on property then owned by Phillip Meyer.
The Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation based in Syracuse, New York, which helps people to celebrate their community’s history through a variety of roadside marker grant programs, including its New York State Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program. As of today, the Pomeroy Foundation has funded more than 690 NYS roadside markers in all corners of the Empire State. Grants cover the entire cost of an aluminum marker, pole and shipping.
The Pomeroy Foundation has also provided full funding for a bronze plaque commemorating Big Duck Ranch’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The plaque was installed earlier in the year on the outside of the Victorian Barn, which houses the Long Island Duck Farming Exhibit on the current site of The Big Duck. To date, the foundation has awarded over 1,200 roadside markers and plaques nationwide. Visit: https://www.
Friends of The Big Duck is a non-profit organization, which is the Southampton-Town-appointed steward of Big Duck Ranch, the 37½-acre property surrounding The Big Duck. The organization raises funds to support Big Duck Ranch including the maintenance of the garden and public bathrooms. For more information or a membership application (open to Suffolk County residents), send an e-mail to: FriendsofTheBigDuck2020@