Monday, August 25, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (31)

Topic: Wealthy Businessmen of NYC #2

William Bayard Cutting (1850-1912)

William Bayard Cutting also sat on the Board of Directors of many other companies, most notably the American Exchange Bank, the U.S. Trust Company and of course, the New York & Brooklyn Ferry Company, once founded by his grandfather William Cutting and Robert Fulton. William Bayard Cutting was a successful real estate developer at South Brooklyn, where he dug the Ambrose channel and opened Brooklyn Harbor to deep sea shipping. He also developed slum areas on the East River into decent housing tenements for underprivileged families. With his brother Robert Fulton Cutting, he started the sugar beet industry in 1888, later bringing it under the umbrella of the Havemeyers' American Sugar Refining Company. In 1887, William Bayard Cutting hired architect Frederick Law Olmstead to landscape "Westbrook", a 1'000 acre river estate, with its later famous Bayard Cutting Arboretum. William Bayard Cutting supported numerous philanthropies, including the Children's Aid Society, the Zoological Society, the Metropolitan Museum and the New York Public Library. He was a trustee of Columbia University and a backer of the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Robert Goelet III (1841-1899)

The Goelets came into possession of more than 250 houses in the heart of New York's commercial district. Unlike their forebears, these Goelets lived the more generous lifestyle of the Gilded Age, owning a large mansion in the City, as well as Southside, a summer residence in fashionable Newport R.I. He was a director of the Chemical Bank, the Metropolitan Opera House

James Lenox 1800-1880

James Lenox distinguished himself as a bibliophile and philanthropist, contributing heavily to charities, such as the Presbyterian Hospital and Princeton. He endowed the Lenox Library, which was a cornerstone of the vast New York Public Library, once it was incorporated into the latter in 1895. When James Lenox died childless in 1880, he was still one of the richest men in New York, despite his attitude of giving away and never reinvesting the proceeds of his wealth.

Pierre Lorillard (1833-1901)

Pierre Lorillard was the fourth generation heir to the great tobacco dynast, which was started by a French Huguenot immigrant of the same name, when he set up America's first tobacco manufactory in 1760 at nr 4 Chatham Street New York. Pierre Lorillard also played a role in New York and Newport Society, as a promoter of the Newport Yacht Club and as a real estate promoter. Pierre Lorillard set up Tuxedo Park, a summer resort for the very rich, on a 7'000 acre property he owned in Ramapo Hills, New York to be sold to selected members of New York's Four Hundred.

Anson Phelps (1781-1853)

After the war of 1812, Anson Phelps moved to New York, where he associated himself to fellow Connecticut trader Elisha Peck, to form Phelps & Peck. The firm prospered and became New York's largest metal importer, with Phelps selling the metals in New York and buying cotton in the South which he exported to England. Like other merchant capitalists, Anson Phelps had many other interests, including railroads, notably the New York & Erie, and banking. He owned a controlling interest in the Bank of Dover New Jersey, which was managed by his friend Thomas B. Segur. When he died in 1853, he left an estate exceeding $ 2 million, of which half was real estate in New York City and Ansonia.

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