Jul 27 2012

The Planned Long Island Motor Parkway from Floral Park to Riverhead

The final route of the Long Island Motor Parkway stretched 44 miles from Fresh Meadows, Queens to Lake Ronkonkoma, Suffolk County. However, the original plan was the eastern terminus would be in Riverhead.


Howard Kroplick

Following a spectator death during the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the concept for a privately owned speedway on Long Island was developed by William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. and his business associates. As published in the October 25, 1906 issue of "The Automobile", the plan "provides for a straightaway road of 65 or more miles that will extend from Floral Park through the center of Long Island to Riverhead."

This rare map showed the planned route of the Long Island Motor Parkway from Floral Park to Riverhead.

The October 1906 Prospectus of the Motor Parkway described the route as "beginning at a point near the City Line of Greater New York, the Parkway will have its eastern terminus near the shore of Peconic Bay, Suffolk County. On this right of way there will be constructed an automobile parkway, properly fenced to protect users."

The October 21, 1906 issue of "The New York Times" headlined a "60-Mile Road to Cost $2,000,000...No More Racing Dangers. Speedway to be for All Who Pay Toll."

Throughout 1906 and 1907 the Motor Parkway Inc. acquired property in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. As published in "The Automobile" on May 23, 1907 "Work Begun on Parkway" with it starting from "a point about midway between Garden City and Mineola...The route approaches Lake Ronkonkoma which is to be the terminus of the present stretch."

"This is a distance of 32 miles..and is expected that the gap between this point and Riverhead -a distance of 26 miles - will be ready for surveying long before construction is finished on the first portion."

Surveys of the planned 26-mile route between Lake Ronkonkoma and Riverhead were completed by August 1907.

An example of the survey of the Riverhead property purchased by the Motor Parkway, 1.488 acres conveyed by William and Hudson Griffin.

For the first time ever posted, this is a survey of the "Automobile Highway" through Riverhead.

The planned eastern terminus was located at Old Country Road in Riverhead.

Due to financial considerations, the Motor Parkway ended at the western shore of Lake Ronkonkoma and never reached Riverhead.


Jul 28 2012 Joseph (Motorpky) Debono 3:57 AM

Howard, Some of the Parkway that goes to Riverhead you can see the"right of way”.If you go out there. I have seen it sometime in the 1980’s. Keep up the good work.  Joseph(Motorpky)DeBono

Jul 29 2012 Phil 1:27 AM

How about a yesterday and today story on the info provided in Mr. DeBono’s comment ?


Jul 29 2012 BradH 6:42 AM

It might be wishful thinking on my part - could Manor Road near Riverhead be part of the expected original route?

Jul 29 2012 David Kahn 11:28 AM

You are doing excellent work.  Might there be more information in the archives of the New York State Archives in Albany, perhaps dealing with incorporation, land purchases (I don’t know if these are archived in Albany or in the archives of the towns through which the road would pass).\, and other aspects of the road.  These papers may only have dry details, but they would anchor, with times and places, the purchases and locations of the road and provide a solid historical foundation for a study of the parkway.

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