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Austin Corbin II and Corbin Park
Austin Corbin II (1827-1896) left his hometown of Newport, New Hampshire to become a Gilded Age Robber Baron. He returned home in his later years with millions made from real estate speculation, banking and railroads. In this post-civil war period, New England’s hill farms were being abandoned and agriculture was being displaced by the effects of the industrial revolution. The state of New Hampshire, it what has become known as the New Hampshire Summer Home Movement, was encouraging wealthy out of towners and returning native sons, to buy up farms and create summer homes for rest and relaxation. Corbin built a grand estate on the site of his childhood home in Newport and began buying farms across the towns of Croydon, Cornish, Grantham, Newport and Plainfield. He additionally built a 22,000 acre game park and created an “Animal Garden” stocked with elk, wild boar, bison, Chinese pheasant and other exotic species. Presidents, princes, artists, and writers visited the park as guests. The legacy of Corbin’s Park also includes its role in the saving of the American bison from extinction.
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