Apr 08 2019

Mystery Friday #14 Solved:The Motor Parkway Sign at the Western Terminus at Fresh Meadows

This weekend's Mystery Foto was likely the largest sign on our favorite parkway.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Where was this sign located? What was the orientation of the photographer?

The western terminus of the Motor Parkway at the Horace Harding Boulevard intersection in Fresh Meadows, Queens.

  • What was the date of the photograph? Provide a rationale.

 1933 to 1938. The  Motor Parkway toll was dropped from $1.00 to $0.40 in 1933, when business dramatically declined due to the opening of the Northern State. Parkway.The "50-Mile Drive" was actually only 44 miles.

  • Kudos question: Identify the truck.

The consensus indicates the truck was a 1930s Ford (Model A, AA or TT)

Comments (11)

Congrats and kudos to Greg O., John Cunningham, Dick Gorman, Dave Stephan, Steve Lucas, Tim Ivers, John Ulrich, and Frank Femenias for identifying the Western Terminus at Fresh Meadows and the estimated date of the photograph (1933 to 1938).


Howard Kroplick


Location of the Sign

The sign was likely located on the east side of the Motor Parkway at the intersection with Horace Harding Boulevard.


Apr 04 2019 Greg O. 10:07 PM

Where was this sign located? What was the orientation of the photographer?

Photographer looking Southerly at the sign on the Southeast corner of Horace Harding Blvd and the Fresh Meadows entrance to the LIMP.

What was the date of the photograph? Provide a rationale.

1935 -as per VCR; The “50-Mile Drive” was actually only 44 miles. The Motor Parkway toll was dropped from $1.00 to $0.40 in 1933, when business dramatically declined due to the opening of the Northern State. Parkway.

The only known ground level photo of the sign and entrance.

Kudos question: Identify the truck.

Too tough to tell, but a guess would be an early 1930’s 1 1/2 Ton Ford snow plow truck.

Apr 05 2019 Joe Oesterle 12:08 AM

Near Rocky Hill Road entrance.

Apr 05 2019 John Cunningham 7:55 PM

Horace Harding Boulevard in the late 1930s when the toll was lowered to 40 cents.  Recognized this pic from the images of america book.  As far as the truck goes, i got nothing.

Apr 06 2019 Dick Gorman 10:01 AM

Mystery Friday Foto #14…. This Motor Parkway sign was located at the parkway’s western terminus on Nassau Boulevard west of Francis Lewis Boulevard. The photographer was facing north east, maybe? The toll was reduced to 40 cents in 1933 so let’s call this photo date winter 1933.
Truck in photo is very vague… possibly a late 1920s Ford Model TT.

Apr 07 2019 David Stephan 4:59 AM

My guesses:
Picture of western terminus of Long Island Motor Parkway (Nassau Blvd).
Photographer was looking E-ESE.
Year was 1938 because of 40 cents toll rate. And most likely exactly 91 years ago this week as only major snowfall in early 1938 was April 6-9, 1938.
Truck appears to be 1931 Ford Model AA “heavy” (dump) truck, due to the rear wheels. Some call this truck the “heavy duty” truck. This model was made only in one model year, so the model year is easy to determine!


Apr 07 2019 Steve Lucas 8:16 PM

This sign was located at the western terminus of the LIMP in Fresh Meadows at Nassau Blvd. ( Horace Harding Blvd). Judging by the shadow of the light fixtures, I believe the photographer was facing east. Since the cost of a one-way ticket was reduced to 40 cents in 1935; there’s snow on the ground; the LIMP closed in April, 1938; this probably limits the date to between 1935 and the winter of 1937-38. As to the truck, no clue. Looking forward to the answer.

Apr 07 2019 Tim Ivers 9:18 PM

Looks like the Horace Harding entrance sign.  Probably about 1937 when the toll was reduced to 40 cents and before the parkway closed in 38.  Truck looks like a Model A.

Apr 08 2019 John Ulrich 4:04 PM

The photo was taken in the winter of 1934.
Toll was reduced to 40 cents in 1933.
The “photo op” occurred sometime in Feb 1934 after a large snowfall.
As per N.W.S. data base Feb 1934 had significant snowfatotaling 27.9 ” out of a seasonal total of 52”. It was heaviest Feb snowfall in the entire 1930’s. 
The sign was a futile attempt to increase traffic after the opening of the NSP the previous year.
The sign was at the Queens terminus of the parkway on Springfield Blvd .
The snow clearing in front of the sign was to make the sign visible.
Maybe the family of the lodge keeper was sent out to clear the snow from the billboard sign and entrance& exit ramps.   
The electric lights on the sign connected at the toll house.
Of course the 50 miles for 40 cents was a misnomer. Total length was approx. 47 miles to the eastern terminus.:
Maybe photo appeared in local newspaper. If I knew how to search archives I would look their too. Anyone want to give this frustrated historian a few tips please e-mail me .I would love to continue the conversation.
The truck is also for another post.

Apr 08 2019 frank femenias 6:27 PM

This sign was once located in Fresh Meadow, Queens at the beginning of the Motor Parkway’s western end, on today’s Horace Harding Expwy service road and about 100 ft. east of Peck Ave under the pedestrian overpass. Photographer was looking almost directly at the sign facing northeast. Photo was taken sometime after 1933 when the toll was reduced to $0.40 until the parkway’s closing (1933-1938).


Apr 08 2019 Howard Kroplick 8:41 PM

David Stephan

Separately from my guess about your Mystery Foto #14 (an easy one that even I could get), I wanted to ask you if you know what the object is that is behind the truck?

At first, I thought it was part of the truck which made for one strange-looking truck. However, when I examined your grainy photo with a Photoshop filter, it seemed to be something behind the truck as lighting density and contrast was different. In the attached, I can see clearly the open part of the truck (“dump”), which I partially highlighted in blue. The object to which I refer is bounded on the top and right by my yellow line.

Just curious, especially as I have enjoyed your speculations about a kiosk that might have been at/near this entrance.

Apr 08 2019 Howard Kroplick 10:52 PM

Frank Femenias

Apr 08 2019 Ron Ridolph 11:43 PM

Hi ALL:  In regards to the truck with the snow plow on it,  the object on the back of
the truck in all probability is some sort of box, crate or tank holding and carrying an
unknown weighted product for more traction in the plowing process.

Apr 09 2019 Al Velocci 4:47 PM

Howard, Reducing the toll rate in 1933 was a little bit more complicated. The 40 cents toll took effect on December 12, that year. Prior to that there was also a 50 cents toll on Sundays only from the Hillside lodge to the Meadow Brook Lodge as far back as 1927. There was also a 20 cents toll for a short period of time from the Mineola Lodge to the Hillside Lodge that went into effect shortly after the Northern State Parkway opened up the entrance/exit at Jericho Tpke. which was located about a quarter mile from the Mineola Lodge.  The 40 cents toll was modified on Nov. 1, 1936. From that date forward that rate was good only between the western terminus and the Mineola Lodge. On that date the toll was raised to 75 cents to traverse the entire parkway. Between April 1st and April 19th, 1938, the last day tolls were collected, 76 automobiles paid the 40 cents rate and 577 paid the 75 cents rate. Al.

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