On November 19, the Town of Riverhead unveiled a shiny new historic roadside marker commemorating the former location of The Big Duck and George Pugsley’s early 20th century Pekin duck farm. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation awarded the grant for the sign to Flanders Village Historical Society on behalf of the Friends of the Big Duck, making this their second Big Duck–related grant after funding the National Register of Historic Places plaque at Big Duck Ranch in 2008.
With funding secured and the project approved by Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Chairperson Richard Wines, the roadside marker was erected at 1049 West Main Street. It reads:
EARLY DUCK FARM
GEORGE PUGLSEY RAISED PEKIN
DUCKS HERE CA. 1909-1920.
BIG DUCK ROADSIDE STAND,
BUILT 1931, ORIGINALLY
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2019
From 1909, when Pugsley became one of the first Pekin duck farmers in Riverhead, to 1931, when entrepreneur Martin Maurer had the brilliant idea to erect The Big Duck to sell more Pekin ducks and eggs, Riverhead remains an important location in the history of Long Island duck farming. “Although our Big Duck flew the coop twice, it now resides in Flanders, Southampton, and we still consider it one of our hometown heroes,” says Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar. “We thank the Pomeroy Foundation, Friends of the Big Duck and our own Town of Riverhead Engineer Drew Dillingham for donating and erecting this plaque, allowing us to commemorate another piece of Riverhead’s rich history.”