On Saturday, we had our second annual Patchogue History Crawl through Main Street. It was a huge success! We stopped at four great bars and lots of historic locations in the village.
When we came to the front of the Sweezys building, we noticed something missing. The plaque honoring Duke!
The older residents of Patchogue will remember when patrolman Norris Gilman rescued a puppy from a cesspool on East Main Street in the late 1930s. The dog would go on to win the hearts of Patchogue's residents. We are told that Duke was a special dog who patrolled the Four Corners, sometimes riding in Gilman's sidecar on his motorcycle. It seemed as if Duke was the spirit and embodiment of Patchogue itself. In 1954, this legendary pooch passed away, having lived a long life and making many friends in the village. A plaque honoring Duke sat for years in front of Sweezys.
It appears that in the midst of all the recent construction, the plaque was removed. You will see a long strip of asphalt in front of the building where the plaque once sat. The modirator of the Patchogue's Facebook page assured me that Tritec has a good record of safely storing and replacing things like this when they do urban renewal projects. I believe this is true. But let us remain vigilant and take care that this little piece of Patchogue history does not fall through the cracks as development and modernity sweeps in.
When the project is finished and our village's facelift is complete, be sure to look for the plaque. If it isn't there, we must demand that a new one be installed. But why stop there? I suggest a statue of Duke be erected at the Four Corners or in the new vilage green. Why not? Patchogue is certainly in no short supply of artists. How wonderful it would be to commission a local artist to sculpt an effigy of this fine pup?