Everyone who gets a chance to marvel at the Charles W. Morgan during the ship’s visit to Boston this weekend should stop to thank obsessive weirdos. The only reason the whaler was saved in the 1920s was because eccentric millionaire Edward H. R. Green wanted to display the ship at his seaside estate in South Dartmouth, where he embedded it in sand — thus saving the Morgan from the fate that met every other whale ship after that industry’s demise.
Green, the son of notorious miser Hetty Green, spurned his mother’s example and spent his inheritance on his hobbies, which also included massive stamp and coin collections. After Green’s death, a Connecticut maritime museum acquired the ship. By splurging on a ship that many people in the ’20s considered junk, Green preserved the sole direct link to an industry that helped shape New England.