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Storm Claims Historic Flagpole

Residents Plan to Salvage Part of it With a Bronze Plaque

A historic flagpole was the victim of the recent storm of March 13. But residents plan to salvage a piece of it with a bronze commemorative plaque to signify its importance.

According to Ken and Marysue Bornholdt, residents of Avoca Avenue in the Village of Massapequa Park, the flag had stood at their residence since 1955. That was the year when the Frank Buck Zoo, a longtime village establishment, closed. The zoo, Ms. Bornholdt said, stood on property where Waldbaum’s and Toys R Us are currently located. Herman Strully, the mayor of Massapequa Park in 1955 was the previous owner of the Bornholdt residence. Mayor Strully had the flagpole transferred from the zoo to his yard where it stood until the storm knocked it down.

“We’ve heard that the flagpole stood on Monkey Mountain,” Ms. Bornholdt told The Massapequan Observer, referring to a section of the old zoo. “After it crashed through our fence and partially onto our neighbor’s property, those neighbors, Hilary and Don Hartung, took the top 3 feet of it and painstakingly restored it back to its original beauty, with its big copper ball sitting atop. Don made it a beautiful architectural piece, sitting on a wooden base, where we’ll install a plaque for all to remember this small piece of Massapequa history.”

The Frank Buck Zoo opened in 1934 and operated in the village for the next two decades. Ms. Bornholdt has a few stories of her own about the zoo. Buck, she related, had a habit of traveling the world collecting animals, where he was famous for “bringing them back alive.” But he had problems with the local monkeys. After the zoo opened, the monkeys escaped and roamed the streets of Massapequa, putting the village in the news. “It took a while to confiscate all but four of them,” Ms. Bornholdt said.

The bronze plaque, she added, should be ready in a couple of weeks, another small monument to a village rich in American history, both old and modern.