Dec 04 2009 Exclusive: Rare View of a Vanderbilt Cup Race in Bethpage

As a follow-up to our recent discussion of the public roads of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, I recently acquired a copy of this rare photo of a Vanderbilt Cup Race... which came with no captions or notes. I have seen thousands of photos of my favorite races, but never from this location. It was my task to identify the action for the copyright holder. Here goes:


The first clue was obvious: The signs on the trees. Wow, a close-up view proved to be very exciting.The lower sign reads "Long Island Motor Parkway Lodge Entrance." This meant the time frame of the photo was between 1908 to 1910 when the Motor Parkway was part of the course. Moreover, there were only three lodges on the course; the Meadowbrook Lodge (off Merrick Avenue), the Massapequa Lodge (off Massapequa-Hicksville Road and the Bethpage Road (off Round Swamp Road). A closer look of the two mileage signs above the Lodge sign indicates the location was 4 miles from Hicksville and 4 miles from Jericho....about the right distance from Bethpage.

The second clue was the telephone poles. Clearly, this section of the course was a turn on to a public road. Other clues were the trees and hills in the photo. The Meadowbrook Lodge and Massapequa Lodge were very much in the flat Hempstead Plains with barely a tree or hill in sight.


Accordingly, I believe this photo is a very rare view of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race from Round Swamp Road in Bethpage, the eastern terminus of the Motor Parkway in October 1908.


As indicated by the direction the flagman, police officer and crowd are looking, the racers were coming from the right and making the left turn on to Round Swamp Road. Also note the cars parked on the slope in the background.


The owners of these cars likely saw the signs hanging on the road: "Store Your Automobile Here On Day of Race. Tickets on Sale Opposite."


Dec 05 2009 Joe Oesterle 10:03 PM

Dear Howard,

Looking at the 1908 Map, can you identify the roads the LIMP crossed.  Here is my stab at it?

Starting from West to East along LIMP:
Merrick Ave
Stewart Ave
Old Westbury Rd
Newbridge Rd
Jerusalem Ave
Bloomingdale Rd
Wantagh Ave
Hicksville Rd
Stewart Ave
Central Ave LIRR
Powell Ave (Not Shown)
Plainview Rd
Botto Farmway Bridge

Thanks for all your wonderful work,
Joe O

Dec 06 2009 Howard Kroplick 10:38 PM

Hi Joe:

Thanks for the comment.

I have the 16 bridges of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race as follows (listed from west to east):

1. Merrick Avenue (LIMP above bridge)
2. Newbridge Avenue (LIMP above bridge)
3. Stewart Avenue (LIMP below bridge)
4. Carman Avenue (LIMP below bridge)
5. Westbury Avenue (LIMP above bridge)
6. Newbridge Road (LIMP above bridge)
7. Jerusalem Avenue (LIMP under bridge)
8. Bloomingdale farmway (LIMP under bridge)
9. Wantagh Avenue (LIMP above bridge)
10. Massapequa-Hicksville Road (LIMP above bridge)
11. Jerusalem Road (Stewart Avenue) (LIMP above bridge)
12. Central Avue/LIRR (LIMP above bridge)
13. Nibbe farmway (Limp under bridge)
14. Powell Avenue (LIMP under bridge)
15. Plainview Road (LIMP under bridge)
16. Botto farmway (LIMP under bridge)

I will photos of these bridges sometime this month.


Dec 08 2009 Howard Kroplick 1:37 AM

Hi Joe:

Here is a link to the photos:


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