Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Big Duck, Flanders, LI, NY & Stargazer, Gateway to the Hamptons, Manorville, NY
The Big Duck in Flanders always was a big hit with Rob who visited it very often. He showed Susan the building a little after they married and has been visiting it ever since. It was built between 1930 and 1931 in the town of Riverhead, NY by Smith and Yeager for duck farmer, Martin Maurer. It was his way of advertising and attracting customers to buy his ducks and sell duck eggs. Built of concrete over a wood frame, this Peking duck's eyes are Ford Model T tail lights.
In 1937, Maurer moved his store from Riverhead to Flanders where he built his new duck ranch.The building would remain there until it closed in 1984. Suffolk County acquired the building and moved it down the road to Sears-Bellows Pond County Park between Hampton Bays and Flanders where it remained until 2007 when it was moved back to original location where it stands today.
It is still owned by Suffolk County, but Southampton Town maintains the outside of the building. Mr, Maurer's original 27 acre farm is under restoration at this time and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The Big Duck Ranch has also been listed since 2008.
Stargazer is made up of three stories of wood, stucco and steel.
Basically, Stargazer was originally built for the Animal Rescue Fund as an entrance to their East Hampton offices. It had to be tall enough for cars to drive through and fit on a two lane road. By the time construction was completed however, the ARF backed out mainly because of the pressure applied by the townspeople and the town supervisor.
Currently, Stargazer resides at the end of a farm on Route 111 in Manorville, NY.
Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on the Big Duck
and a link to Stargazer
here's a history of Stargazer from Dan's Papers published in Southampton, NY