Wednesday, July 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Travel

Many of my ancestors did a lot of traveling across the United States but today I will talk about travel close to home.

Ruth Moore with her father John N. Moore Sr.

There is a road nearby called the Long Island Motor Parkway or Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. It was built and used from 1908 to 1910, for auto races by William K. Vanderbilt II. It was a 48-mile race track and it drew international attention. The two-lane concrete speedway stretched from Queens County, NY to Vanderbilt's Petit Trianon Hotel on the Islip County side of Ronkonkoma Lake. The hotel was fashioned after an 18th-Century building at the Palace of Versailles in France. It was the site of swank parties enjoyed by Long Island's elite after their drive through the countryside. Some of roadway is still in use today but many parts have been built on.

Petit Trianon Hotel

My Mother, Ruth Moore (1919-1956), travelled many times with her parents during the 1920’s. The Moore family lived in Brooklyn, New York and went from there to Ronkonkoma Lake to spend the day swimming, diving and relaxing.

Lake Ronkonkoma

 My grandfather would always tell us what a good time they had. I have some beach pictures with the family in them, but am not sure if they were taken at the Lake.

When I was little our family moved to Levittown, New York. It was a brand new community and the roads were still not paved. At one end of my road was half of an overpass that was part of the Long Island Motorway. My grandfather would say he passed by our land many times when it was just a potato farm. After looking at old maps indicating the complete 48 miles of the road I can see he did actually go passed our house when it was just farm land.

Map of Long Island with Vanderbilt Motor Parkway Indicated

In today’s travel time it would take about an hour. I can image how long it would have taken them on mostly back roads and no highways to get from Brooklyn to Ronkonkoma Lake in the 1920’s. I am wondering now if they stayed at one of the swanky hotels that lined the Lake at that time.

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