Jul 22 2014

Historical Markers for the Long Island Motor Parkway and the Vanderbilt Cup Races


Over the last 50 years, organizations have honored the Long Island Motor Parkway and the Vanderbilt Cup Races with historical markers. Currently, there are 13 markers still standing on Long Island in 17 different locations.

Below is a a summary of information on the markers (going from west to east) including suggested tweaks to their copy.

Enjoy,

 

Howard Kroplick


Queens Greenway

Placed by New York City Parks & Recreation in 2010 at three locations on the Queens Greenway, replacing damaged markers

Suggested copy tweaks: See the comments section of this post.


Floral Park

Placed by Floral Park Historical Society on April 26, 2014


Williston Park at Willis Avenue

Placed by Village of Williston Park on May 18, 2003


Williston Park at Village Pool

Placed by Village of Williston Park. Concrete post donated by my favorite co-author Al Velocci.


East Williston at Wheatley Hills Golf Club Course (between third green and fourth tee)

Placed by the Wheatley Hills Golf Club.

Suggested copy tweak: The Long Island Motor Parkway was never officially called Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. Ground-breaking for the Motor Parkway occurred in 1908 with construction continuing until 1926.


East Williston at Wheatley Hills Golf Club Clubhouse

Placed by the Wheatley Hills Golf Club. Courtesy of Art Kleiner.


Garden City at Old Country Road (No longer standing)

Placed by Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post 429, Plainview, in June, 1959.

From Art's Motor Parkway Historical Marker Page

"The next marker (using an incorrect version of the Parkway's name, as was used above left) was dedicated in June, 1959 by the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post 429, Plainview, as they took a break in their hike retracing the route of the Motor Parkway.  The hike was done in connection with the post's ambition to earn the Historic Trail Award, (http://scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/trail.aspx), a major scouting honor which had never been won in Nassau County.   The site of the marker was the intersection of the Motor Parkway and Old Country Road in Mineola, a few blocks west of the Roosevelt Field shopping center.  This information was taken from a press release issued from the post's advisor, Charles M. Waff, Jr. and the photograph is from the June 9, 1959 edition of Newsday. 

Having been to this location several times and never noticing the marker, my guess it was probably taken down as part of improvements made to Old Country Road and the erection of an office building and an apartment complex.  Several calls to the Nassau County Dept. of Public Works proved of no value as no one appeared to have any recollection of where the marker may have ended up. "


Garden City at Garden City Lodge, Seventh Avnue

Placed by Garden City Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

Suggested copy tweak: There were 20 toll collection structions built for the Long Island Motor Parkway.

The marker has a bar code that takes you to the Garden City Deaprtment of Recreation's website that provides corrected information on the Motor Parkway. Note their excellent source material provided in the last paragraph.:

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Long Island Motor Parkway Toll Lodge
The Toll Lodge marker is located near the relocated Toll Lodge on Seventh Street east of Franklin Avenue, now occupied by the Garden City Chamber of Commerce.

The Garden City Toll Lodge was one of some twenty structures built for the Long Island Motor Parkway to collect tolls. The Parkway was designed by William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. as a private automobile toll road with grade separations from public roads and railroads – the first limited-access highway in America. It ultimately extended from Queens, through eastern Garden City, to Lake Ronkonkoma and existed from 1908 until 1938.

This lodge was built in 1911, and was originally located near Clinton Road, at the entrance to the Parkway at the end of what is now called Vanderbilt Court. It and five others were designed in French Provincial style by John Russell Pope, subsequently famous for his designs of buildings such as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The lodge had living accommodations for the toll collector and his family. The two-story building was of brick covered with stucco, with a cedar-shingled roof. On the first floor was an office, living room with fireplace, and kitchen. The second floor contained two bedrooms. A porte cochere sheltered the toll collector as he collected tolls (initially a round trip for $2.00, about $45 at today’s prices) or inspected annual toll plates mounted on the cars. The original porte cochere was extended at a later date to accommodate cars entering and exiting at the same time.

When the Parkway closed in April 1938, the Garden City Lodge was sold to gatekeeper Christian Ernst, who continued living there until 1977. In 1987, when the next property owner wanted to rebuild, the Garden City Chamber of Commerce raised funds to have the building moved to its present location on Seventh St. and renovated for use as its offices. The move occurred in March 1989.  A complete photo history of the Long Island Motor Parkway itself can be obtained from the book “The Long Island Motor Parkway” by Howard Kroplick and Al Velocci (2008) or from the website maintained by Kroplick www.VanderbiltCupRaces.com.


Levittown at Grandstand Site, Orchid Road

Erected by Town of Hempstead in 2014 in 2 locations, replacing damaged markers.

Suggested copy tweak: It was called the Long Island Motor Parkway grandstand.


Bethpage at Ground Breaking Site, Stewart Avenue

Erected by Central Park Historical Society in July 2012


Bethpage at Central Avnue

Erected by Central Park Historical Society in July 2012


Old Bethpage in Old Bethpage Village Restoration

Erected by the Model A Ford Club of Long Island in 2008


Dix Hills

Erected by Town of Huntington in 2 locations in 1973.

Suggested copy tweaks: The parkway was built by William K. Vanderbilt Jr.. A. Pardington was the general manager of the Motor Parkway and E. G. Willams was the engineer.


Melville on Maxess Road

Erected by Oxford Management Services in 2004.

Suggested copy tweak: The bridge over Deer Park Avenue was the most easterlySuffolk County bridge for the Long Island Motor Parkway.



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