The parkway is named for Congressman Schuyler Merritt, who represented the southwestern part of Connecticut in the U.S. Congress and who championed the construction of a parkway to parallel U.S. Route 1. The section through Trumbull was completed in November 1939, which means that in November 2014, the parkway will turn 75 years old.
Trumbull has the distinction of harboring the youngest original parkway underpass (Frenchtown Road, built in 1942) and the oldest parkway overpass (White Plains Road, built in 1934). The White Plains Road overpass was constructed of reinforced concrete and encased steel-girder design at a cost of $47,532 and was financed by NRA grants and Connecticut Highway Department funds. The overpass is not a typical parkway structure — it was designed prior to the parkway concept being adopted in 1934 and reflects the newer state highway bridges seen throughout Connecticut during the early 1930s.