Oct 08 2019

Kleiner’s Kolumn: Documenting the Ezekiel Smith Farmway Bridge in Melville Over Time

In a new Kleiner's Kolumn, Art Kleiner further explores the farmway bridge in Melville.


Howard Kroplick

Kleiner's Kolumn: The Ezekiel Smith Farmway Bridge in Melville

By Art Kleiner

I believe one of the most fascinating aspects of researching a particular part of the Motor Parkway is the ability to compile and compare locations over time (hence the "Then and Now" pictures widely used in the Blog).  Today's technology makes this easier than ever before. 

In this post I've shown surveys, maps and aerials of what I believe to be one of the Motor Parkway's "Wonders of the World" - the Ezekiel Smith Farmway bridge abutments off Maxess Road in Melville.  Most of us have been there, but if you haven't you should. 

The attached documentation begins in 1907 and continues thru how the bridge abutments look today (graffiti and all, unfortunately).  I know there are probably other pics previously shown in the Blog, if any are of particular interest to you include it and why in the comment section.  

Look for old and new and let others know of any aspects of the bridge location that are of most interest to you.  I've been interested in the purpose of the bridge, to connect both sides of the farm as well as to provide a way for children to safely get to the school (indicated as SD 15 on the survey).  And also the direction of the bridge in relation to Maxess Road (very clearly seen in the later year aerials).  And while you're at it, how about we start compiling other "Wonders of the World" locations pertaining to the Motor Parkway.  Send in your lists and I'll compile a final list over the next few months and will use this to produce similar posts showing each location over the past 100 years.  Contact me at adjak@aol.com and please indicate LIMP in the subject line. 


Sept., 1907 article from "The Suffolk County News" discussing a law suit brought by the Smith family heirs and how the property was to be divided. 

June, 1910 article from "The Long Islander" conveying the property to the Long Island Motor Parkway.





Aerial Photos











2019 Photos

Here are the bridge abutments as they stand today. 

At the bottom of the north abutment are three holes similar to this and which are not on the south abutment.  Might be for drainage purposes- any other ideas?


Oct 09 2019 Brian D McCarthy 6:48 PM

I’m fairly certain that the square openings towards the base of the abutment were for drainage. Too bad we didn’t check this out in 2005 when most of the dirt was cleared away, possible there was a stub of old drain pipe on the back side. Below are some LIMP bridges with square openings.

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Oct 09 2019 Brian D McCarthy 7:38 PM

My favorite drainage image : )

Oct 09 2019 Brian D McCarthy 8:18 PM

I too, have been curious about the Lower Melville Schoolhouse that was on the S/E corner of Duryea & Maxess Rd that is witnessed as late on a 1984 aerial.Very obvious on the older aerials that a path was north from Ruland Rd, across the bridge towards the school. An image of the school was captured by Ron Ridolph around 1980, I then came across an older image, maybe from the 1970’s. Below is 3 images ( 2 from the site here in 2010, when none of us ‘met’ Maureen Standish yet. The 3rd one courtesy of Half Hollow Hills Library )

image image image
Oct 09 2019 Brian D McCarthy 8:29 PM

And here’s the 1984 aerial, and a current road map showing the location as a - School/Historic? There’s been the white office building there at least since 1994. Sure a few businesses operate within the building. Don’t think school administration offices operate within?

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Oct 09 2019 frank femenias 10:31 PM

Great Drainage Brian! I’ve blatantly overlooked this fine detail in all the photos provided thus far. It now makes sense. A round opening would’ve been more appropriate for drainage. Why square? Aesthetics? Quite possibly with Vanderbilt’s high standards. It looks more like an electrical junction box. I believe you are right! I never tire of the Motor Parkway. Glad all these historical photos have been preserved for future generations to learn from.

Oct 10 2019 Steve Lucas 8:45 PM

Hello Art,
Great column; lots of good info; Looks like the start of a really nice series. The reference to Patchogue in the Sept. 1907 newspaper article caught my attention so I thought I would attach a photo of Judge Jaycox’s home at that time. It was on East Main Street near the corner of Route 112, currently occupied by a strip mall, TD Bank, and BP gas station. Looks like being a judge paid well even then.

Oct 11 2019 Art Kleiner 11:33 AM

Thanks Steve, let me know if there’s any other areas you want me to highlight over time.  And yes, guess judges did ratther well back then!

Oct 13 2019 Maureen Standish 7:41 AM

Hello to All,
The white building (circa 1980) is the school house I first attended (kindergarten) in 1951.  There were two rooms on the first floor and two in the basement. Classes were held on a half day basis. I lived in the Melville toll house (1949-1953) after it was moved from the LIMP.  I think the school was called Sweet Hollow School.  I sent some pictures to Howard a few years ago of both these buildings.  Will dig out the old box of pics and see if I can find anymore pics.  Just love this.  It pulls at my heart strings each and every time this area is featured.  I want to go back and just walk this area.  Have made a few google map trips but the is a close to coming back.  Thank you. smile
As the map of 1941 indicates, we did own four acres of land and my parents did by the farm from the Zapf family.

Oct 13 2019 S. Berliner, III 2:58 PM

Some historical background at <http://sbiii.com/limpbrdg.html#duryea>.  Sep and Oct 1999 photos at <http://sbiii.com/limpkwy4.html#crossng2> and (right after it) <http://sbiii.com/limpkwy4.html#duryea-x> (those blurs are BAD thumbnails - click on them for better pix - gotta fix that).  Lastly, Jun 2002 through May 2005 pix at <http://sbiii.com/limpopen.html>.  Sam, III

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