Building-Structure Inventory Form

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Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form. Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, much of the information reflects that time period.

Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made. Corrections to factual errors in the original surveys, and updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or are clearly indicated as updated material from the context of the comments.

Sites which have a suffix of “S” are supplemental sites not included in the original surveys.

Building-Structure Inventory Form

Robinson Duck Farm

 If checked, this is a Supplemental Form, not in the original surveys.




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Submitter Name:
Town of Brookhaven/SPLIA
Submitter Address:
Town Hall
205 S. Ocean Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772
Brookhaven Community Development Agency


Robinson Duck Farm
Hamlet of Southaven

 If checked, this site is within the Fire Place (Brookhaven Hamlet) Historic District


4a-Public Site
4b-Private Site
Robert Robinson (1982), Suffolk County (present), Ronald Bush (after 1991)
Montauk Hwy, south side, west of Carman's River


farm; also site of Church
duck farm business


7a-Visible From Road
7b-Interior Accessible
by appointment

Building Materials

8d-Board & Batten
some metal buildings

Structural System

9a-Wood Frame Interlocking Joints
9b-Wood Frame Light Members
1 quonset hut, grain elevator
shingled outbuildings c1925




11a-Original Site

Photo & Map

Photos and images


14a-None Known

Related Outbuildings and Property

15b-Carriage House
15i-Landscape Features
2 houses + 3 outbuildings of Hard Estate (SH13)

Surroundings of the Building

16a-Open Land
16c-Scattered Bldgs
16d-Densely Built-up
Sunrise Highway to north, Montauk Highway; Carman's River on east; Wertheim Refuge S & E.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

This farm is located in the hamlet of Southaven, which was first settled in the early 18th century.

Other Notable Features of Building and Site

A managers cottage, large barn, bull pen, and milk house built by Anson W. Hard in 1923 are situated on this property. See SH 13.

It is near the site of the Carman Homestead, Presbyterian Church, and Carman's Mills. The cemetery is located within this property.


1902; grain elevator 1930.

Historic and Architectural Importance

High, four-story structure making a dramatic geometric statement on the horizon. Still in use, it is next to the L.I.R.R. tracks on a working duck farm. It is a significant part of Long Island's agricultural history.

Quonset hut one of few remaining in use on Long Island farms. [By 2005, both structures have been removed, as well as many of the other original farm barns and outbuildings.]

[In 1991, tyhe Robinson Farm was acquired by Suffolk County. About two acres of the farm, including the main barn and houses, was acquired by Ronald Bush to house his extensive collection of farm equipment and tools.]


Interview: Mrs. Robert Robinson, Montauk Highway, Southaven, NY
Emails: Kenneth Hard



Prepared By

Ellen Williams, research assistant

Supplemental Material

The following comments are from former Brookhaven Hamlet resident Richard Beyer, now of Tuscumbia, AL

I would like to add some general first-hand information to your wonderful photos of the Robinson's Duck Farm in Southaven. I worked there for two summers, 1957 between my Junior and Senior years, and 1958 following my Senior year at Bellport High School before I left for the NY State College of Forestry at Syracuse.

Ralph Robinson, one of the family members, was my Sunday School teacher at the Brookhaven Presbyterian Church. The farm was pretty much self sufficient. They had their own Incubator House, a large and expensive facility, where they hatched the eggs of ducks, chickens, and turkeys for the farm, and they also took in, when space allowed, work from other sources such as quail, pheasant and other game birds for Ken Hard's Suffolk Lodge across the highway.

The farm also had its own Feed Mill, another large another expensive facility where they could, with the best knowledge of the day, blend and produce feed for the 100,000 white ducks that were resident on the farm at any given time. I'm sure if there was any excess capacity it was put to good use in making feed for other area enterprises.

>p>The most fascinating operation on the farm, to me at least, was the processing plant, which we simply called "the killing house." In those years when I worked there it operated two days a week. When the ducks had been raised to a weight of six pounds they were "processed" and sent to market in New York City. In that era, Long Island Duck was a very special and much sought after entree in better restaurants all over the East Coast. I even recall the names of some of the workers in the processing plant. I will spare your readers the exact processing details, which I recall very well, except to say that absolutely nothing was wasted and because the farm was run so efficiently, everything was sold except the quack. On the days the plant operated, employees were allowed to take home two ducks per person. Fifty years later I can still taste those delicious fowl and have never found any as good in markets or restaurants over the decades.

We harvested, baled and transported to the duck houses, hay from the farm's fields and from fields all over Suffolk County. The ducks were susceptible to local predators like mink and fox but even more to various diseases, especially when they were still young and yellow. One disease I recall was known as "New Duck." It must have been like a virus and it spread rapidly with a high mortality rate. The inoculation process is still vivid in my mind as it was performed at a high rate of speed and less than 100% accuracy. I was, therefore, over the two summers, inoculated in my fingers for just about every disease known to duck.

Robinson's Duck Farm was a great case study in the benefits of teamwork and efficiency and especially hard work. It was a highly educational experience for me and one for which I have always been grateful. And there are still many of us around who consider ourselves genuine environmentalists who still miss the farm and especially the Robinson family.

Best Regards,
Richard Beyer
Tuscumbia, AL
27 Nov 2006