Photo courtesy Richard Margolis
Lake Ontario State Parkway
Monroe and Orleans Counties
Officially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, this 35-mile parkway along the southern shore of Lake Ontario is one of only two state parkways built in western New York. Constructed beginning in the late 1940s, it is a segment of a much longer parkway originally planned by Franklin D. Roosevelt to connect Fort Niagara to the Thousand Islands. The Lake Ontario State Parkway is architecturally significant as a designed historic landscape in the tradition of earlier parkways in New York State, featuring a picturesque curving route, rustic sandstone bridges and buildings, and park-like landscaping, offering scenic views of Lake Ontario and the surrounding countryside. Changing demographics, economic forces, and a scarcity of resources have contributed to the Parkway’s current condition, with some sections needing significant investment. A part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway, the Parkway could present an opportunity for reuse as a multi-purpose recreational corridor, with road maintenance costs decreased as the Parkway’s use and appeal is diversified to better serve varied groups of users.