Sun Jul 8, 2018 2:00pm

Morton F. Plant and the CT Shoreline at PMH

Sponsored by: New Haven Museum

Morton F. Plant once traded a Neo-Renaissance mansion in New York for $100 and a Cartier pearl necklace valued at $1 million (equivalent to $19,101,300 today). He was also rumored to have “bought” his second wife, May, away from her previous husband. But the Gilded Age financier was also renowned for his philanthropic spirit, includings substantial assistance in the founding Connecticut College for Women in New London. Gail B. MacDonald will elaborate on these and other colorful stories of the Connecticut philanthropist during: “Morton F. Plant and the Connecticut Shoreline: Philanthropy in the Gilded Age,” a free lecture at the Pardee-Morris House on Sunday, July 8, at 2 p.m. MacDonald’s book of the same name was published by The History Press in September 2017. 

During her lecture MacDonald will bring to life this important figure in local history and demonstrate his long-reaching impact. A book-signing will follow. Admission is free of charge, and parking is available along Lighthouse Road.

According to MacDonald, Plant inherited his father’s transportation empire determined to improve his community. A dreamer eager to invest in innovative technology and grassroots community causes alike, his influence ran deep on the Connecticut Shoreline prior to World War I, and his legacy remains prominent.

Prior to his death during the 1918 flu pandemic, Plant did much for the development of New London, building roads, churches, office buildings, and hotels, and extending trolley lines. His summer mansion, Branford House, at Avery Point, is one of southeastern Connecticut’s iconic landmarks, and the Shennecossett Golf Club he developed as part of his summer resort is a popular public course.

MacDonald is an associate professor in residence in the journalism department at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She is a former reporter for the Day of New London, Connecticut, and a veteran journalist whose work has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Hartford Courant, the Providence Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Rhode Island Monthly, American Artist and Vermont Life.

The Museum thanks Alder Salvatore E. DeCola; The Howard Gilman Foundation; Knights of Columbus, Rodrigo Council #44; and Morris Cove neighbors, including Frank Pinto and Rosemary Spring, for supporting the 2018 summer season.

About the Pardee-Morris House
Located at 325 Lighthouse Road, in New Haven, the Pardee-Morris House dates from about 1780, and is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Built by Amos Morris around 1750, the house was burned by the British during their raid on New Haven in 1779, and rebuilt and expanded by the Morris family. In 1918, William S. Pardee, a descendant of the Morris family, willed the property to the New Haven Colony Historical Society, today the New Haven Museum. For a complete list of summer events at the Pardee-Morris House, visit: For New Haven Museum’s event calendar: Sign up for e-blasts at

About the New Haven Museum
The New Haven Museum, founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue. The Museum collects, preserves and interprets the history and heritage of Greater New Haven and through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach brings more than 375 years of the Elm City’s history to life. For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.

Admission: free
Pardee-Morris House
325 Lighthouse Rd.
New Haven
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