A Giant Walked Among Us - The Life and times of Morton Plant: Philanthropist, Railroad Tycoon, and A
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6p – 7p, 03/09/2017
- Description Morton Freeman Plant was a wealthy businessman who did not come into his own until the middle of his life. Born to Henry Bradley Plant, a very wealthy railroad and steamship magnate, and Ellen Blackstone, Morton grew up a playboy with yachting as one of his famous pastimes. Morton inherited two-thirds of his father's 22 million-dollar fortune, and with this windfall Morton Plant spent lavishly and left a lasting legacy in southeastern Connecticut that remains to this day. First and foremost, Plant was a philanthropist who donated a million dollars to the founding of Connecticut College for Women. The Blackstone and Plant Halls are named for his maternal and paternal family names. Plant’s seasonal mansion at Avery Point was called Branford Hall after his birthplace, now serves as a local campus of the University of Connecticut.
Morton Plant was a railroad tycoon of sorts, inheriting from his father extensive railroad interests in Florida, but he was also instrumental in the construction of trolley lines that ran from New London to Westerly and Norwich that changed the economic and social landscape of southeastern Connecticut. Trolley lines made it possible for everyone to travel at a reasonable and affordable expense – to school, to work, to shop, to see family and friends. The construction of these trolley lines employed hundreds and many of these workers were immigrants from Italy and Ireland.
Other little known aspects of Morton Plant’s life include his financial interests in the Wright brother’s aviation enterprises, his ownership of a local baseball club, interest in the hotels that were served by the railroad and trolley lines such as the Griswold in Groton, Connecticut.
Jim Streeter is the town historian for Groton and has made a study of Morton Plant’s life. He has recently donated his entire collection of Groton memorabilia to the Groton Public Library. Mr. Streeter has had many careers including as a policeman, the mayor of Groton, and as a forensic handwriting expert.
This program is free and open to all. The mission of the Stonington Historical Society is to preserve, interpret, and celebrate the history of all of Stonington. Please Join Us!
Contact: Elizabeth Wood, Executive Director
Ewood@stoningtonhistory.org OR 860-535-8445 x10
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