Aug 10 2013

Anatomy of a 1907 Motor Parkway Cartoon

By late 1907, the route of the Long Island Motor Parkway became public. In September 1907, the trade magazine Automobile Topics published this cartoon addressing; "How the Motor Parkway Became Kinky."

The magazine implied that politics and economic issues were factors in determining the route.  To distance itself from legal issues,  the cartoon was credited to a "Long Island reader of Automobile Topics."


Howard Kroplick

As described in the October 25, 1906 article in the trade journal Automobile, the initial Motor Pakway concept was a "straightaway road of 65 miles  that will extend from Floral Park through the center of Long Island to Riverhead."

Link to a pdf of the 1907 article "Speedway Across Long Island"

Without the right of condemnation, the right-of-way differed greatly from the initial straightaway route. This 1920 map showed the twists and turns from Rocky Hill Road (Springfield Boulevard) to Lake Ronkonkoma.

As seen in the 1907 cartoon, the Motor Parkway route was to be from Great Neck to Riverhead.

The rarely seen and never built route from Lake Ronkonkoma to Riverhead.

Three Motor Parkway directors were featured in the cartoon. Here, General Manager A.R. Pardington says: "All right! That will do! It looks a leetle crooked. But what would you want. Better for "simulating actual road conditions."

Dean Alvord was a real estate developer and responsible for acquiring property for the Motor Parkway. His caption reads: "Keep your caps and goggles on, gentlemen. But pull steady for our real estate interests."

Another director Ralph Peters, who was also president of the LIRR, says: "Hi, there boys! Steady! Not too far from the R.R. and not too near-and, mark this, always into the "wastelands"- We got to get them settled.

In his pocket is a telegram form the Pennsy R.R. Company; "Dear Peters- Fix the Motor Way so they can't beat our trains."

A chorus of "Motor Angels" float above the map wondering; "Who would have thought that this was what we wanted."

The most intriguing caption was written in reverse and  accused someone of possible illegal activities.

The mirror image of the caption reads; "Free lots! Free! For newspaper men!"


Aug 11 2013 Ken Harris 10:28 AM

That was interesting and entertaining.  Imagine that—politics and economic issues were involved!  I especially liked the request from the LIRR.  I guess things don’t change much when you factor in human nature.  As the saying goes:  the more things change the more they remain the same (ça change, plus c’est la même chose in the original French).


Aug 16 2013 frank femenias 1:10 AM

Interesting article that hints at the business mindset of 100 years ago. Not much has changed since. Also the attempt to voice out even louder towards stopping a ‘new idea’ from flourishing any further.

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