Mar 16 2020

Mystery Foto #11B Solved: The Garden City Archives: Scouting the Ground-Breaking Ceremony Location

The Garden City Archives challenged you to a brand new Mystery Foto.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the location of the Mystery Foto and orientation of the photographer. Provide a rationale.

​On Jerusalem Road (now Stewart Avenue in Bethpage) looking south towards the Central Railroad crossing. The photographer's automobile is parked on the future site of the Jerusalem Road Motor Parkway Bridge. Rationale: The railroad crossing and the large tree.

  • What significant event happened at this location?

​The ground-breaking ceremony held on June 6, 1908 was located where the people in the Mystery Foto are seen. The Mystery Foto was likely taken in May 1908.

  • Kudos question: Identify one person in the Mystery Foto.

​A.R. Pardington, general manager of the Motor Parkway, was the second person from the right in the "group of engineers."

Comments (6):

Congrats and kudos to John Cunningham, Steve Lucas, Frank Femenias, Dick Gorman and Greg O. for identifying the ground-breaking ceremony location off Jerusalem Road and A.R. Pardington in the Mystery Foto.

Kudos to 


Howard Kroplick


Ground-Breaking Day, June 6, 1908

Courtesy of the Garden City Archives


Mar 13 2020 John Cunningham 11:19 AM

1. Stewart Ave looking south in bethpage at the LIMP intersection. We’re looking at the future site of the stewart ave(jerusalem)  bridge
2. Groundbreaking took place in the area on the right where the gentlemen are standing
3. Pardington and/or Willie K?

Mar 14 2020 Steve Lucas 5:12 PM

Based on the shadows near the car, could we be looking south? Since there’s a train crossing sign, the road is probably going north-south. This might be Jerusalem Road (today’s Stewart Avenue) in Central Park (Bethpage). This could be the site of the groundbreaking ceremony for the LIMP construction. Maybe the group of people were trying to select the actual site for the officials stand. If any of this is true, then A. R. Pardington is probably there.

Mar 15 2020 S. Berliner, III 12:20 PM

Surely, you jest!  This one I gotta see!  Beautiful pastoral scene, though.  Sam, III

Mar 15 2020 frank femenias 3:56 PM

Rare, high resolution photograph of old Long Island as it truly looked in 1908! Stewart Ave (Jersusalem Road) in Bethpage looking south towards now defunct Central RR crossing. LIMP General Manager A.R. Pardington with engineers standing on the 16.5 acre Barnes Tract,  directly on the Motor Parkway Right-of-Way where the Ground Breaking Ceremony will later take place on June 6, 1908. The car is parked under, where the Jerusalem Road Parkway bridge (1908-1950s) will be built over it.

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Mar 15 2020 Dick Gorman 8:58 PM

Mystery Foto #11B…We are on Jerusalem Road looking south. A Motor Parkway bridge will be built here over Jerusalem Road. As per my researched photo, one of the people shown here is Mr. Pardington along with some engineers involved in the construction of the Motor Parkway. See attached photo below

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Mar 16 2020 Greg O. 2:37 PM

-Identify the location of the Mystery Foto and orientation of the photographer. Provide a rationale.

Looking South down Jerusalem Road (Stewart Avenue) in Bethpage and the future location for the Jerusalem Road bridge. My photo below shows the same exact tree in both photos.

-What significant event happened at this location?

On June 6, 1908, this site was the gathering point for the ground-breaking ceremony for the Motor Parkway.

-Kudos question: Identify one person in the Mystery Foto.

I’d imagine Willie K, or A.R. Pardington would/might be there, but despite poor zoom resolution, I’m thinking it looks like Jefferson De Mont Thompson on the right.

Mar 16 2020 frank femenias 11:09 PM

Great photos and zooms Howard. I never get enough of ‘em!

Mar 16 2020 frank femenias 11:15 PM

Again, more amazing shots of the Barnes’ tract just revealed. Great stuff.

Mar 17 2020 Al Prete 8:20 PM

I’m fixated on the big tree, wondering whether it still stands. It looks like it was north of the CRR and south of the LIMP. Could it be the tree on private property at the NW corner of Stewart Avenue and Albergo Court? It’s the only tree with a thick enough trunk to be that old. There are actually two trees, close together, on the property.
Howard Kroplick
Al, join the club…that tree has always fascinated me!

Mar 17 2020 S. Berliner, III 8:40 PM

Gotta add that I am simply stunned (and thrilled) with the level of detail this ca. 1908 Mystery Foto thread has evinced.  Thanks, all!  Sam, III

Mar 18 2020 S. Berliner, III 12:52 AM

Al P. - Isolated up here near Beantown, I have to rely on Google Maps Street View, or the like, and I can’t find ANY old-growth trees there.  Even IF such a tree somehow survived the widening of Jerusalem Road/Stewart Avenue, it would be absolutely gigantic compared to the “only”-70-some-odd year old trees evident there now.  Someone please go look for me.  Sam, III

Mar 18 2020 Al Velocci 10:52 AM

I would like to think that the person who took the later photo, #1948, purposely placed his car about where the the auto was parked in the 1908 shot. Note the drainage culvert on the right side is visible as it is in the construction photo dated Aug. 20 ‘08

Mar 18 2020 Greg O. 4:53 PM

Sam; Google Street View is sufficient to get an idea of what is currently there. My further rationale for saying that tree no longer stands is when Stewart was widened, it looks like they widened towards the West side of the street (Tree side)  and not the East side since the East side bridge embankment is still there.

Mar 18 2020 Brian D McCarthy 10:33 PM

I was thinking the same, Greg. Tree was still there in the 1950’s. Trees there now are young.

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Mar 19 2020 Al Prete 6:10 PM

Greg, I checked Google Street View, and you beat me to it with your comment. There is a NYS historical marker at the embankment. I don’t know when it was put up because on Google it’s too fuzzy to read. I wonder if it’s Howard who is responsible for its being there.
Howard Kroplick

Al, the historical marker was placed here by the Central Park Historical Society.

Mar 20 2020 Greg O. 12:01 AM

Al P., Here’s a better view of the marker as well a link to Howard’s entry for it.

Mar 20 2020 S. Berliner, III 2:02 PM

O. K.  No question now that the big tree was south of the RoW/bridge.  However, I question the IDs of the group.  The resolution just isn’t enough to distinguish the two men in white dusters to the right of the pine tree; the one in the dark duster is clearly Pardington as shown in photo 48A because the very-imposing Thompson, with his white moustache, is unmistakable at right, as he is in the Mystery Foto to the left of the pine.  The two unknowns in dusters are probably members of the Motor parkway Commission, leaving the two ordinary mortals at left in both pix to be Brown or his engineers.  I’d opt for it being Brown in the snap-brim fedora.  Doncha just love “temperoary” and “Jeruslem” and offi-ice” in 48A?  Seaking of Thompson, have we seen this fab. 1906 LIMP pic: <>?  Sam, III

Mar 23 2020 Tom 12:58 PM

Looks like June 6th, 1908 was a warm, sunny day. Big crowd!

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