Nov 16 2009

A Central Park/Bethpage Postcard from a Motor Parkway Worker

The initial building of the Long Island Motor Parkway was conducted by over 600 workers who spent weeks and months away from their families to complete the work. One of the workers, T. Griffin, sent this postcard to his sister C.A. Griffin of 262 Bridge Street in Northampton, Massachusetts:


This is what Griffin wrote to his sister on August 11,1908:

Dear Sis, Am working in Central Park L.I. on an automobile speedway T .


The front of the postcard showed the "Motor Parkway through Nibbe's Hollow, Central Park, L.I.". Griffin added the following note:

This is part of the course where auto races will be held in Oct.


The section of the Motor Parkway in the postcard was in Central Park (now Bethpage) north of Central Avenue. It crossed over property purchased from the Stymus and Nibbe families.


Here the workers can be seen excavating the topsoil at this curve. The movement of soil and excavating material was a slow and tedious process. Many two-horse wagons were required, as they had a capacity of only three cubic yeards.


This is what the curve looked like in October 1908, completed in time for the 1908 race. The Stymus Farm can be seen in the distance.

Finally, I was curious what happened to the Griffin family who lived at 262 Bridge Street. Although I could not find a direct link to T. Griffin, in 1981 his sister's house received a historic preservation award by the Northampton Historical Commission.

Comments, feedback and contributions are much appreciated. Please leave your comments at the end of a post on the Blog or send me an email at [email protected] .


Howard Kroplick


Nov 22 2009 Art 8:03 AM

Great pictures of the work in progress.  As a postcard collector, I’ve never seen them.  Fascinating.

Nov 22 2009 Walter Gosden 3:25 PM

Your continuing accurate documentation of one of the most important events and roads on long island and in American history is sincerely appreciated. It is wonderful to see the people and places that are part of this story getting their long over due recognition they so rightly deserve. Thank you for all of your efforts, please know it is sincerely appreciated.
Walter Gosden
former Vice President, Director, Editor -
The Society of Automotive Historians.
Historian for the Inc. Village of Floral Park.

Dec 02 2009 Howard Kroplick 7:07 PM

Art and Walter:

Thanks so much for the feddback!


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