Morton F. Plant : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

As an interesting historical background, today's New York Times, in its New York Metropolitan section, had an article about Cartier Jewelers and their plans for upgrading their building. It turns out that their building was originally owned by Morton F. Plant of the Plant System, and he sold his home on Fifth Avenue and 52nd street to Pierre Cartier for $100 and a $1,000,000 double strand pearl necklace. Unfortunately, after the advent of cultured pearls, the value of the necklace decreased to $151,000 at a 1957 auction. The Plant house was built in 1905. Plant married Mae Caldwell Manwaring in 1914 when he was 61 and she was 19. Apparently she admired the necklace, they wanted to move uptown and Cartier needed more space. A trade was arranged! Interesting stuff! I have sent a copy of the article to our esteemed Mr. Goolsby. Anyone who wants a copy of the article can E-mail me and I will copy it and mail it via snail mail.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, April 26, 2000


Morton Freeman Plant also served as a Director of the Interborough Rapid Transit Corp., the first N.Y. Subway line opened in 1904. There's a hospital in Tampa with his name too.

-- Maunsel White (, December 22, 2004.

There are at least two books I know of with info about H. B. Plant. One is the book on steamship companies of Plant and Flagler. The other is a book called "Florida Promoters"...I got from Seth. It has capsule biographies (about 20 pages) on Plant, as well as Disston, Flagler, Collier among others....

Interestingly...most bonds relating to the 1902 sale of PS to ACL were issued to the "Plant Investment Company" I could only find one directly issued to M.F. Plant....and of-course none to H.B. as he had been deceased for 3 years......



-- Ted Strickland (, April 29, 2000.

Commodore Morton Freeman Plant was the son of Connecticut native Henry Bradley Plant who founded the Plant System of railroads, steamship lines and hotels. After his father's passing (1899), Morton and his mother contested Henry's will having learned that each would only receive a paltry $30,000 annuity from an estate worth tens of millions of dollars. In January, 1902 the trust was finally set aside by the Supreme Court of New York, whereupon mother & son began liquidating Plant System properties. The Plant System of railroads (some 2,235 miles) were subsequently sold to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902, and for many years Morton served as a board member. Whereas he did maintain a fashionable residence in New York City, as the New York Times article relates, he never forgot his beloved Connecticut where he and his father hailed from. Morton, always a prominent yactsman, later endowed a new Connecticut College for Women in New London with one million dollars plus provided funds for Blackstone Hall in memory of his mother. He also erected a fabulous, summertime mansion ('Branford House') at Avery Point in Groton, whose grounds now embrace the Avery Point Branch of the University of Connecticut. The Commodore also owned the Shore Line Electric Railway, an interurban trolley line which ran along the Connecticut shoreline. Perhaps his father's great fame and accomplishments will one day be recorded in book form.

Gregg Turner Mansfield,Conn. & Fort Myers, Fla.

-- Gregg Turner (, April 28, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ