Henry B. Plant Museum
The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, now a National Historic Landmark and home to the University of Tampa. During the 1880's, Henry Bradley Plant was building an empire of railroads, steamships and hotels.
The hotel was financed by Plant personally, not investors, at a cost of $2,500,000 and an additional $500,000 was spent for furnishings. It took two years to build, covered six acres and was one-quarter mile long. The 511 rooms were the first in Florida to be electrified. Advertised as completely fireproof, the structure is built of poured concrete reinforced with steel rails and cables in between floors.
The building featured all of the latest luxuries including a billiard room, barbershop, shoeshine service, beauty shop, flower shop, telegraph office, formal dining room, Grand Salon, Music Room with orchestra and telephones in all guest rooms.
The grounds of the hotel were as awe-inspiring as the building itself, spanning 150 acres. The amenities included an 18-hole golf course, flower conservatory, tennis courts, croquet courts, boathouse, hunting and fishing grounds, stables, racetrack, kennels, exposition hall with Florida products on view, casino with 2000 seat auditorium, heated indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, spa facilities and card rooms, totaling 21 buildings in all.
After the death of Henry Plant, the building was bought by the city of Tampa in 1904. It continued to operate as a hotel until 1930. In 1933, the Tampa Municipal Museum was established in order to preserve the legacy of the Tampa Bay Hotel becoming the Henry B. Plant Museum in 1974.
Henry B. Plant Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media