03 January 2008

Plant Museum

Ok, so this is the Henry B. Plant museum, AKA the University of Tampa, formerly the Tampa Hotel. What am I babbling about? A man named Henry Plant, who was born in Connecticut and went to work for a steamboat company in 1836. He worked for various Railoroad and Express companies up through the Civil War, then he and his investors put together several railroad companies to link North and South. Henry wanted to build a resort hotel that people would take his trains to. Tampa, Florida was selected as the location and architect J.A. Wood was hired to design the resort. It finally opened on Feb 5, 1891, as the first all electric hotel in Florida. In the first season, over 4000 guests came to the hotel. This was the begining of modern day Tampa. During the Spanish American War, Plant convinced the government to make Tampa a primary embarkation port, bringing thousands of soldiers to Tampa and to the Tampa Hotel. It was because of this that the hotel became a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Though Plant died in 1899, the Hotel continued to operate until 1932, and saw many famous guests including Babe Ruth, Anna Pavlova, Booker T. Washington, and John Philip Sousa. In 1933, The University of Tampa made the former Hotel the main building of its new campus, and the City of Tampa established the Plant museum inside. In these pictures you see original furniture arranged to recreate some of the rooms the Hotel had, as well as some of the priceless artwok from around the world that adorned the inside.

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