Apr 21 2010

The Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Long Island Motor Parkway- June 6, 1908

On June 6,1908, the Long Island Motor Parkway staged an official ground-breaking ceremony to commemorate the beginning of parkway construction. Shown here arriving at the site are Motor Parkway officials, guest speakers and other dignitaries on Jerusalem Road in Central Park (now Bethpage).


Invitations to the ground-breaking ceremonies were sent out by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. to automobilists, high-society and supporters of the Motor Parkway. If invitations were sent out today, people would be directed to the northwest corner of Stewart Avenue (then called Jerusalem Road) and Albergo Court in Bethpage. (Courtesy of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.)


Approximately 500 people were in attendance to listen to speeches from dignitaries and witness the ceremonial turn of earth. Not all present that day came by auto. The horse and bicycle were well represented. A large number of well-dressed women carrying umbrellas also turned out on what was a bright sunny day. Hosting the activities and welcoming the crowd from what was described as “a rough grandstand” was A.R. Pardington, general manager of the Motor Parkway. (Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library.)


The original plan called for William K. Vanderbilt Jr. to make a speech and turn the sod, but the sudden and grave illness of his stepfather, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, kept him away. A.R. Pardington, general manager of the Motor Parkway, read from Vanderbilt’s prepared remarks. (Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library.)

He praised the impact and potential of the automobile:

“The automobile has come into such prominence that it has revolutionized all mode of travel. Distance has been eliminated, highways improved, unknown districts opened up, and pleasure given to thousands… land owners in almost every case, seeing what a benefit a road of this character would be to their property, gladly came forward with help, enabling us to complete a forty-five mile right of way.”

Click here to view the other speakers at the ground-breaking ceremony


Apr 25 2010 Mark D 5:13 PM

Thank You for helping to preserve Bethpage and Long Island History

Apr 25 2010 Christopher Turner 9:30 PM

Strike that i asked a question to fast should have read first. Thanks again.

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