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Morgan Playground

Morgan Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground, located in the Bronx neighborhood of Morrisania, honors Edward Denison Morgan (1811-1883), a 19th century New York State politician. Born in Washington, Massachusetts and raised in Connecticut, Morgan was a 25 year-old grocery clerk when he left Hartford and came to New York City with enterprising hopes in the grocery business. Along with two friends, A.D Pomeroy and Morris Earle, Morgan opened a wholesale grocery store named Morris and Earle. The trio was forced to declare bankruptcy within a year, but Morgan was resilient, and soon crafted a successful business career as a banker.

By the late 1840s Morgan had become a wealthy and influential businessman, and was elected to the New York City Board of Assistant Alderman in 1849 as its president. One year later, he was elected to the State Senate as a member of the Whig Party. In his greatest contribution to New York City parks, Morgan authored the bill that funded the creation of Central Park. In 1858, Morgan won the office of Governor of New York. His popularity at its peak, Morgan was reelected in 1860 by the largest landslide in New York State history.

The Civil War began the following year, and Morgan worked diligently to assuage the concerns of New York State residents, providing funding for the fortification of the New York Harbor. Morgan also rallied New Yorkers to enlist in the Union army, taking the initiative to become Major General of Volunteers in New York in September of 1861, although he remained governor. Stepping down as general in January of 1863, Morgan campaigned to become a U.S Senator rather than running for a third term as Governor. Because the Whig Party had disbanded several years before, Morgan ran as a member of the more liberal Republican Party. He won the election and served in the Senate from 1863-1876, chairing the Republican National Committee from 1872-76. His prior experience in banking allowed him to make informed decisions concerning the stabilization of U.S currency. Morgan was also well respected for his efforts in civil service reform.

Over the years, Morgan’s securities firm had grown extremely successful under the watch of his business partner, Solon Humphreys, and Morgan retired with an estimated $9 million dollar fortune, which in large part he donated to such institutions as the Women’s Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, and the Eye and Ear Hospital. Morgan died on February 14, 1883.

This playground, located on 168th Street between Park and Washington Avenues, was built as a recreational facility for the students of P.S. 132. The City purchased the property in 1957, and following the Board of Estimate’s approval in 1960, the playground was constructed and opened on May 25, 1962. The playground features play equipment with safety surfacing, swings and basketball courts.

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