Austin Corbin

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Austin Corbin (July 11, 1827 – June 4, 1896) was a 19th-century American railroad executive and robber baron. He consolidated the rail lines on Long Island bringing them under the profitable umbrella of the Long Island Rail Road.

Corbin's most ambitious plan was the 20 mile (30 km) extension of the rail line from Bridgehampton, New York to Montauk, New York where he planned to open a deep water port so that trans-Atlantic passengers could shave a day off their voyages by taking the "mile a minute" trains 100 miles to New York City. However, the plan never materialized as the planned port at Fort Pond Bay in Montauk could not be dredged to handle the seagoing vessels.

Corbin greatly improved the railroad's infrastructure which had fallen into disrepair after a period of cutthroat competition had thrown all the island's railroads into bankruptcy.

Corbin's tactic included the infamous strong-arming (along with his cohorts) of the Montaukett tribe out of nearly 10,000 acres (40 km²) they owned around Montauk. The tribe is still seeking compensation for this tactic. Relics from the tribe are still visible at Camp Wikoff which the LIRR sold the government and where Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders were quarantined after returning from the Spanish-American War.

Corbin was also known to exclude Jews from the clientele of the hotels he owned in Brooklyn, a policy which provoked a denunciation by Henry Ward Beecher from his pulpit at Brooklyn's Plymouth Church.[citation needed]

The 1888 Corbin Building in Manhattan was named for him. Austin Corbin was killed in a carriage accident in 1896 at age 68.[1] He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Discovering the past: writings of Jeannette Edwards Rattray, 1893-1974, by Jeannette Edwards Rattray and Tom Twomey, 2001, pg. 112.

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Preceded by
Thomas R. Sharp
President of Long Island Rail Road
1881 – 1896
Succeeded by
William H. Baldwin