Atop Stony Brook Village’s post office is the only mechanical eagle in the world that flaps its wings, every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Although the eagles wings are still flapping after 82 years of service, the hand-carve wooden fixture is in need of restoration. Funds are being raised by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) to help the eagle soar once more.
Stony Brook Village was constructed in 1941 by businessman and philanthropist, Ward Melville. At his own expense, he relocated, demolished, or modified some thirty-five buildings in the downtown area. The enormous undertaking also included the rerouting of roads, the relocation of large trees, and moving one million cubic yards of dirt. Although the construction of the village was impressive, Ward Melville’s centerpiece gem was the 20’ mechanical Stony Brook Eagle.
For generations, visitors of Stony Brook Village have been awed by the eagle’s mechanical movements. Watching the wings of the eagle flap is a childhood memory thousands cherish. Since the inception of fundraising, donations to restore the eagle have come from all over the United States, from coast to coast.
Fundraising efforts by the WMHO include: The Summer Soirée, a fundraising gala with a cocktail hour, dinner and live auction at the historic Three Village Inn on Thursday, June 22, and an online auction beginning May 22, with exciting items such as a real military tank driving experience for 30 people in “The Scorpion” British armored reconnaissance vehicle, a suite for up to 22 people at the Total Mortgage Arena, and an all-inclusive stay for seven nights in a three room, five-star Panamanian boutique inn.
While the primary purpose of the fundraising is to support the restoration of the beloved eagle, any additional funds raised may also support two new engines for the WMHO’s Discovery Pontoon Boat, digitizing Ward Melville’s archives, repairs to the roof at the Brewster House (c. 1665), a new exhibit at the Thompson House (c. 1709) in Setauket, as well as education programs.
Donations are being accepted now. To help support the WMHO in its fundraising efforts, visit wmho.org or call 631-751-2244. Checks can be made payable to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, and can be sent to P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law.