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Story underplayed Vanderbilt’s role

Idle Hour, William K. Vanderbilt's summer estate in

Idle Hour, William K. Vanderbilt's summer estate in Oakdale, was completed in 1901. No expense was spared in its construction, with marble imported from Italy, imported woodwork accented with 24-carat gold leaf in the salon, elaborately carved screens and panels in lounges and drawing rooms, and ornate plasterwork adorning ceilings and walls. The mansion, with a final cost of more than $9.5 million, had 110 rooms. In 1968, when Dowling College became an independent, private liberal arts school, the mansion became the campus' main building. Photo Credit: Dowling College Library

Story underplayed Vanderbilt’s role

The story “A window to the past” [LI Life, April 16] explored the history of the Long Island Motor Parkway and the recent discovery of a trove of documents, maps and tools used in its construction. William K. Vanderbilt II was mentioned as the “parkway’s primary patron.”

Vanderbilt, a resident of Centerport, was more than the primary patron. He conceived, financed and built the famous road, known originally as the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. It was the world’s first highway built exclusively for automobiles. Without him, the parkway would never have happened.

It’s disappointing that the story did not fully recognize the significance of his contribution.

Terrence Pearsall,Yaphank

Editor’s note: The writer is a trustee of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

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