Monday, August 18, 2014

Aloha to Florida - Henry B. Plant Museum

Downtown Tampa is home to the Henry B. Plant Hotel.  It now houses a museum ... and the University of Tampa.   From its museum website (link),

When you're building a railroad to do you make the journey worthwhile?

If you’re railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant, in the midst of the sand swamps that would be Tampa, you construct the most astonishingly magnificent hotel of its day, then fill it with treasures from around the world.

With its splendid Moorish architecture, opulent furnishings, and spectacular tropical gardens, Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel attracted a host of celebrated guests, from Teddy Roosevelt to Sarah Bernhardt to Babe Ruth.

A visit to the Henry B. Plant Museum and the authentically restored rooms of the Tampa Bay Hotel will transport you back to a time of indulgent ten-course meals, waltzing on the veranda and alligator hunting by moonlight... The journey is still worthwhile. 

Imagine arriving by train to Tampa to find this splendor!

The hotel's architecture offers unique alcoves ... 

... for afternoon tea!

The museum is a treasure trove of Victorian antiques!

The hotel played a critical role in the Spanish American War (link):

In the months preceding the invasion of Cuba, Henry Plant exchanged letters with Secretary of War Russell Alger requesting the defense of Tampa in the event of war. Plant also sent his lieutenant Franklin Q. Brown to Washington to speak on behalf of the city to be selected as the official port of embarkation for the war. The Plant System of railways transported troops to Florida and Plant Line steamships eventually carried troops and supplies to Cuba. The Tampa Bay Hotel became the headquarters for the U.S. Army officers awaiting the order to embark.

The museum displayed from Henry Dobson, giving visitors a glimpse of life of a soldier in 1898.  

Do you have any old letters?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, August 23, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 24.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Betina Krahn's THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES - a romantic adventure - opens on the veranda of the hotel in the days leading to the Spanish American War.



  1. Do not, great pics

  2. Wonderful pictures! No, I don't have any old letters.

  3. Wow, great pics. I do not have any old letters but my friend does. They date tot he Civil War. Fascinating.

  4. I have letters that my husband sent me from VietNam about 45 yrs. ago. I also have some letters that he wrote his mother when he was a child.

  5. after my Dad died I found a letter he had written my Mom the summer before they got engaged - it was ripped in half - I guess he thought about throwing it away, bu then changed his mind.