Jan 02 2018

Mystery Foto #52 Solved: A Plan for the Adelphi Academy Bordering on the Motor Parkway

Art Kleiner provided a very tough challenge for the final Mystery Foto of 2017.

Mystery Foto Questions:

  • Which educational institution was planning to develop a 22-acre property at the northeast intersection of the Long Island Motor Parkway and Rocky Hill Road (Springfield Boulevard)?

Adelphi Academy which was founded on Fort Greene's Adelphi Street in 1863. After 154 years, the Adelphi Academy continues to operate at Ridge Bouevard and 86th Street in Brooklyn

  • What year was this plan developed?

Adelphi Academy announced plans to build a country day school for its 7th, 8th and high school students at the Rocky Hill location on June 15, 1927.

  • Which part of the plan, if any, was actually implemented?

The country day school was apparently never built at the Rocky Hill location. However, the 22-acres were used by the Adelphi Academy as its athletic fields. As seen in the below 1940 aerial, the property included a clubhouse, a track, tennis court and fields for football, soccer, baseball, field hockey. Impressive!

  • How is this educational institution associated with Nassau County, Suffolk County and the Vanderbilt family?

In 1896, Adelphi Academy established Adelphi College as a separate entity. Adelphi College (now Adelphi University) moved to its current Garden City location in 1929. In January 1963, Adelphi College purchased the former William K. Vanderbilt (Willie K's father) Suffolk County estate in Oakdale. Five years later, it was spun off as Dowling College which ceased operations in 2016.

  • Which company developed the property in the 1950s?

Gross-Morton Company developed the 22-acre property for single-family housing in the 1950s.

Comments (2)

Congrats and kudos to Alan W. for solving this very difficult Mystery Foto.

Happy and healthy 2018!


Howard Kroplick

Mystery Foto: Then & Now

Then: 1924

Then: 1940

Now: Goggle Earth

Aerial View

Street View

Close-Ups (Courtesy of Art Kleiner) Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 6, 1927

"..the transfer of the 7th and 8th Grade and high school students to a 22-acre hilltop site in Queensboro, adjoining the Rocky Hill Road where it crosses the Motor Parkway. The plans for the country day school, as shown in the above airplane view, were drawn by Tooker & Marah, Manhattan architects. The two-story building with Byzantine interior will accomodate 450 students."

Adelphi College and Adelphi Academy (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

In January 1963, Adelphi College purchased the former W.K. Vanderbilt estate in Oakdale, New York. In 1968 it was spun off as Dowling College...

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 16, 1927

The New York Times, June 17,1927

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 18, 1927

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 11,1927

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 13, 1930

Adelphi Academy (Submitted by Howard Kroplick)

The New York Times, May 24, 1951

"A fire that provided a spectacular show last night wrecked the two-story Tudor-type building of the Adelphi Field Club.

The Fire Department, listed the Gross-Morton Company, developers, as the present owners. The club was formerly used by Adelphi Academy for athletic events."


Dec 29 2017 AlanW 6:35 PM

I believe that is the property of the Adelphi Academy: I’m not sure if this was affiliated with the University or the high school once located in Brooklyn. In your picture from several weeks ago showing the toll booth near the Springfield Boulevard entrance you showed the athletic complex (football and baseball fields,running track) which was constructed,date unknown to me (1930’s ?). This was located just south of Alley Pond Park. Houses were built on the site sometime in the 1950’s. I recall seeing an early 1950’s atlas which depicted the Adelphi Academy property.

Jan 01 2018 frank femenias 1:54 PM

Nice find Art. Tough mystery. The racetrack/football field was built in the late ‘30s but unlike the proposed plan it was set diagonally. It appears the facility was partially built as well. Still searching…

Jan 02 2018 Brian D McCarthy 9:14 PM

I’m a bit late submitting my guesses, but here are my thoughts:

I realized that the now defunct Dowling College is on the former grounds of The Idle Hour Mansion in Oakdale, but didn’t know that Dowling & Adelphi were the same. Had no clue what year this was proposed, but guessing after 1938. The athletic fields were created much earlier than I thought. On a 1947 topo map, this area is titled “Academy Athletic Field”. The field was still there on a 1951 aerial map ( NYCityMap ). Had no clue who was housing developers in the later 1950’s? What a shame that the clubhouse burnt down, it appeared to be a fine structure. And it was just E/O the Rocky Hill Rd lodge!

Leave a Comment