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Crazy Facts About The Big Duck

Written by Lon Cohen  |  25. November 2019

The Big Duck is more than just a quaint roadside attraction. It has influenced architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places. You probably visited it once or twice as a kid and wondered at its gigantic size. It’s definitely a part of Long Island history. Here we present some interesting and crazy facts about The Big Duck. For more information about The Big Duck go to the Friends of The Big Duck website.

 

  • It’s 20 feet tall and 30 feet long, made of ferroconcrete and weighs about 30 tons
  • Duck farmer Martin Maurer built it in 1931 to sell duck eggs and poultry
  • It was designed by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager
  • The duck’s eye are the taillights of a Model T Ford 
  • It’s modeled after a Pekin duck, the species that Long Island farmers became known for
  • It was originally in Riverhead but then Maurer moved it to Flanders in the late 1930s. It was moved from Flanders in the 1980s to rescue it from destruction to Hampton Bays. Then it was moved back to Flanders again
  • In 1939 there were about 90 duck farms in Suffolk County
  • Duck farming on Long Island was so big that in 1962 there was a Long Island Duck Queen Pageant held at the Elks Lodge in Riverhead
  • The Big Duck is decorated with a giant wreath hung around its neck and lit every year for Christmas on the first Wednesday in December
  • The Big Duck was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997
  • In architecture, “ducks” are structures that reflect their use in a literal way. The term was coined after The Big Duck in a 1972 book by Robert Venturi titled “Learning from Las Vegas”

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