This Week in Riverhead History: World’s Fair and the circus

The Big Duck monument in Flanders. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)
The Big Duck monument in Flanders. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The following stories from our Riverhead archives were published between 10 and 100 years ago this week.

75 years ago this week

• Long Island ducks at the World’s Fair

Searching for a way to celebrate Suffolk County at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the organizers decided on duck catching. It was perhaps a good idea, though poorly executed.

About 200 live North Fork ducks were released into a pool at the fair, where people chased after them hoping to lure one in.

The problem was that 300 people participated, so man outnumbered duck, and often times two people who caught the same duck engaged in a tug of war.

“Much to the damage of the duck’s feelings,” we wrote in the Aug. 11, 1939 issue of the Riverhead News.

Check out this cool video featuring ducks at the 1939 World’s Fair.

(Credit: Northeast Historic Film on Vimeo.)

90 years ago this week

• Low profit for duck farmers this year

The rising cost of grain and the low cost of ducks meant little to no profit for duck farmers in 1924, according to an article published in the Aug. 15, 1924 issue of the County Review.

Ducks were selling for 22 cents per pound that year.

10 years ago this week

• Troopers move to Riverside

The state police barracks in Riverside opened on Aug. 10, 2004.  The troopers had previously been located in Hampton Bays, but moved to the Riverside facility, which is nearly three times the size of its previous location.

Neighbors and troopers were optimistic that a police presence would improve the community.

“We’ve had so many people come in and tell us they couldn’t wait until we got here,” said Sgt. Paul Slovinsky, commander of the barracks.

15 years ago this week

• Beauty queen leaves Las Vegas a winner

Riverhead High School junior Ka Tyma Ryhmer was the first runner up at the Miss Junior Teen competition in Las Vegas on Aug. 13, 1999. She earned a trophy for finishing second behind a contestant from Canada.

• Suspect takes cop car for a spin

Police had no trouble identifying a stolen car on Aug. 12, 1999. That’s because it was one of their own.

Joseph Butler of Mastic, who had been arrested for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, slid through the plexiglass divider separating the backseat of the police cruiser from the back and took off as an officer attempted to load his car for towing.

He was finally apprehended when the police car died near Lake Panamoka. Police later learned the car Mr. Butler was initially driving was stolen from Tanger Outlet Center.

30 years ago this week

LILCO strike ends

The first strike in LILCO’s history ended on Aug. 13, 1984 after the second of two labor unions came to an agreement on a new contract. The strike lasted five weeks, depleting LILCO of the manpower of 4,000 workers over that time.

45 years ago this week

• Park marked for expansion

The County Board of Supervisors, at the urging of Riverhead Town Supervisor Bruno Zaloga agreed to spend $650,000 to build recreational facilities at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead on Aug. 11, 1969.

The supervisor had previously proposed having the Town of Riverhead acquire the park for recreational opportunities.

Today the park features golf, camping and fishing.

50 years ago this week

• Left forearm bone found in Riverhead

A left forearm bone was discovered on a Long Island Sound beach in Riverhead on Aug. 10, 1964. The medical examiner’s office was investigating to determine the age and gender of the victim.

Two counselor’s from the 4-H Camp found the bone on a beach just west of Reeves Park.

Police said it was likely a male and had been in the water for “some time,” but the ME’s elementary investigation indicated in might not be a human bone, we reported in the Aug. 13, 1964 issue of the News-Review.

• 100 years ago this week

Kit Carson’s Buffalo Ranch Wild West Circus visited Riverhead on Aug. 15, 1914 and The Riverhead News called it “without doubt the largest and best amusement enterprise of its kind extant.”

The circus featured “pioneers of the west, Indians of nearly all tribes, daring cowboys, beautiful cowgirls, Zouaves, Cossacks, Mexicans, Arabs, cavalry of the United States, Germany, France and England.”

“They are well prepared to give us the very best performance we have ever had the good fortune to witness,” we wrote.