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Hercules figurehead from USS Ohio.

Figurehead of Hercules

Field review by the editors.

Stony Brook, New York

In 1820 the U.S.S. Ohio became the first ship to be launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and its figurehead was a massive, full-color carving of the head and shoulders of Hercules, draped in the skin of a lion he'd killed with his mighty hands.

The ship was scrapped in 1884, but the figurehead was saved, passed from collector to collector over the years.

According to Brenda Sinclair of the Hampton Bays Historical Society, "For a few decades the figurehead of Hercules sat across from the Canoe Place Inn on Montauk Highway in what is today Hampton Bays. He was a great roadside attraction. It is said that if you kissed him you would marry within a year."

"He had termites and was in need of repair when he was sold in the 1950s to Ward Melville, who fixed him up."

Today, Hercules is sheltered in an open-air pavilion next to the water, along with the Ohio's anchor and a whaleboat, supposedly the only surviving relic from a doomed 1870 expedition to the Arctic.

Figurehead of Hercules

Main St., Stony Brook, NY
South entrance to town. In a little open-air pavilion on the west (water) side of the intersection of Main St. and Shore Rd.
Lit at night. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mechanical Flapping EagleMechanical Flapping Eagle, Stony Brook, NY - < 1 mi.
Winnie the WitchWinnie the Witch, St. James, NY - 1 mi.
KronosKronos, Stony Brook, NY - 2 mi.
In the region:
P.T. Barnum Statue, Bethel, CT - 34 mi.

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