Anyone who has gone onto http://www.classmates.com/ and reads the Message Boards, knows that "The Dinosaur", located on Spring Road in Huntington, is the subject of many posts. Alumni who have moved away, quite frequently ask if the "Huntington Dinosaur" is still here.
I began my research for this article at the Huntington Public Library. I spoke to a Research Librarian over the phone a few weeks ago, who was excited to see what information they might have, and promised to call me back in a day or two. When she reached me the following day, she was sorry to advise that the Library did not have any information on the subject and suggested that I contact the "Long Islander".
I decided to try the Town Historian and the Huntington Historical Society before calling the town newspaper. Neither agency had any information on the Dinosaur, other than the fact that the house and property where it resides is of historical significance. I was really amazed that this landmark, that everyone knows of or remembers so fondly, is not documented in any way in this town.
Although he was not able to give me any history of the statue, the Historian, Robert Hughes, did suggest that perhaps I wanted to stop by the house on Spring Road and see if the owner might be able to provide some background. This was actually a pretty good idea, so I wrote a short note to the present residents, explained who I was and what I was trying to accomplish, and asked if someone would be so kind as to contact me for an interview. Little did I know that I would come in contact with a direct descendant of the man who created the ‘creature'!
The present occupant of the house on Spring Road is Vincent Auricchio. He explained to me that he is living in the house that he grew up in. The house was built over 250 years ago and became known as the "Burr House". Vincent's father, Jimmy, was a first generation American who spent years in the Pacific during World War II. While he was away, he would send his mother his earnings, which she, in turn, put aside for him. When the war was over and Jimmy returned home, his mother presented him with all of the money that she had saved. It was at that time that Jimmy bought the house on Spring Road, "Burr House", from Sarah and Hannah Burr.
Jimmy and his brother, Peter, worked as masons in and around Huntington. It was Peter who sculpted the dinosaur from chicken wire more than 35 years ago. When Peter moved away, he moved the sculpture from his house in Huntington Station to Jimmy's house on Spring Road. Jimmy and young Vincent filled the wire with cement and painted it green. The dinosaur has remained in place ever since.
The dinosaur has attained celebrity status here in town. To this day, many who grew up knowing about and visiting the dinosaur, bring their own children to see it. The dinosaur is even an "Honorary Graduate of St. Anthony's High School".
Last year when vandals broke the head off and stole it, Vincent crafted a new one. Each Christmas the dinosaur is adorned with a wreath around its neck.
The next time you're in town, do make a little detour off of 25A and see it for yourself!