Dec 21 2016

The Motor Parkway Toll Collection Structures:#19 and #20 The Ronkonkoma Toll Gate & Ronkonkoma Lodge

Going west to east, the 19th and 20th Motor Parkway toll collection structures were located at the eastern terminus: the Ronkonkoma Toll Gate (1914-1923) and the Ronkonkoma Lodge (1923-1938).


Howard Kroplick

Ronkonkoma Toll Gate (1915-1923)

From 1911 to 1915, the Ronkonkoma Lodge existed in name only. Toll receipts bearing the Ronkonkoma Lodge name were collected by toll collectors from three locations east of the Brentwood Lodge: the intersection at Rosevale Avenue, Wheeler Avenue and, sometimes, Nicoll Road. 

According to my favorite co-author Al Velocci's book The Toll Lodges of the Long Island Motor Parkway and Their Gatekeepers' Lives, on March 23, 1915, William K. Vanderbilt Jr. instructed the Motor General Manager Alfred Kienzle to "put a lodge keeper on the top of the hill placing a temporary gate across the Parkway as an experiment."
The location was the first available flat land, approximately 1,500 feet west of Rosevale Avenue. This temporary toll collection structure would last eight years until 1923. The toll gate likely looked like this Lake Success toll gate seen in 1911.

Ronkonkoma Lodge (1923-1938)

Rather than build a lodge from scratch with a design from the now famous architect John Russell Pope, the Motor Parkway chose to purchase a pre-cut four room bungalow for the Mineola, Huntington and Ronkonkoma Lodges. According to my favorite co-author Al Velocci in his book "The Toll Lodges of the Motor Parkway, and Their Gatekeepers' Lives", the bungalow was ordered from Aladdin Redi-Cut Houses of Bay City, Michigan. Unlike the Russell lodges, the bungalow offered a single floor with a kitchen, dining alcove, living room, two bedrooms and space for a bathroom.

On November 20, 1922,  Roy Vollgraff, a Lake Ronkonkoma architect-builder, was awarded the contract to replicate the Huntington Lodge at the toll gate location in Ronkonkoma for the sum of $2,262.

The positioning of the lodge was unique for the Motor Parkway. The building with living quarters was placed directly adjacent to the road with the porte-cochre straddling the entire 16-foot parkway. This photo is circa 1930s.

The toll lodge was completed in January 1923.

This 1920s photograph shows the Ronkonkoma Lodge porte cochere in the background. The young lady is Evelyn Ericson, the daughter of Eric Ericson, the Ronkonkoma lodgekeeper.The Erickson family continued to live in the lodge into the 1960s. (Photo courtesy of Evelyn Miller)

Eric Ericson's Motor Parkway coin changer given to Town Historian Barbara Russell by Evelyn Ericson.

The tag reads: "This Coin Changer Used by a Mr. Ericson at Ronk. toll station of Motor Parkway 1920's."

Then: 2006

From 1938 until 2012, the Ronkokoma Lodge remained virtually unchanged as a private residence located near Woodlawn Avenue.

The distinctive frame of the original lodge was easily recognizable.

Then: 2012

In 2012, the buidling was extensively remodeled and expanded.

Today: 2016

The buidling is unrecognizable from the original lodge structure. Photos courtesy of Dave & Sammy Russo.


Dec 22 2016 Brian D McCarthy 6:53 PM

I went on the “” site ( imaps ) to see where a total of 1650 ft heading W/O both Old Rosevale Ave and Rosevale Ave would land. It ends up at the intersection of Motor Pkwy/ Oakdale Ave. Have no doubt the renovated lodge is further east to Woodlawn Ave, I’ll just have to drive by there; after the holidays of course. And you can’t miss this house, with The Russo Team providing a excellent photo of it.

A Happy and Safe Holiday Season to All!

Dec 22 2016 Dave Russo 8:11 PM

So, as we can see from the older photos, the lodge was basically on top of / right next to the LIMP.

Was the house moved back away from the road at some point?

Dec 25 2016 Laura and Kenneth Harris 10:30 AM

Nice presentation of the Ronkonkoma Lodge history.

Dec 27 2016 Ted 11:02 AM

I remember that coin changer,I used one when I was a driver for Good Humor Ice Cream,way back when?

Feb 12 2017 frank femenias 12:02 AM

Brian - I also measured 1000 ft west of OLD Rosevale Ave (according to “The Toll Lodges of the Long Island Motor Parkway and Their Gatekeepers’ Lives” book). The original lodge still shows up west from its current location. We’re on track here. Still searching for a clear aerial of the lodge in its heyday, so to pinpoint its location on the LIMP.

Mar 27 2020 Bob K 9:33 AM

My wife and I bought the house next door (to the west) of the gatehouse from Mr. Ericson in 1983.  He built the house in 1951-52.  So, he was living in this house starting then.  I met him shortly before he passed (at 88 or 89 years old and he told me that he used to collect the toll and during prohibition, his brother used to ride on a horse with a shotgun chasing the bootleggers off the road.  Mr. Ericson also worked for Grumman during the 1940’s - where I worked as well, retiring in 2019 after 40+ years.

Mar 27 2020 Bob K 9:59 AM

Just as a follow up to my previous note…
The actual road was probably my current front lawn.  I’ve known the last 4 owners of the actual gatehouse and I did see remnants of the signage use to build a shed on the property.  I’m not sure if its still there.

Leave a Comment