Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hotel to nowhere

We live in an area that is steeped in history. It has more interesting historical factors then two Super Bowls. Where my dear hubby grew up, there were Indian mounds where he and his brother would find all kinds of Arrow heads.

In the 1800's the railroad came to town. And this hotel was built to accommodate many wealthy northerns whose desire was to escape the frigid winters.

Let me tell you, this is one magnificent building.

Built by Railroad owner, Henry B. Plant, The Tampa Bay Hotel was in a class of it's own. Henry Plant built several hotels along his railroad line. This one may be the only one that has survived.

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.

The grounds of the Hotel spanned 150 acres. The amenities included an 9-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. Not a bad winter destination :-)

There were many celebrated guests of the hotel, most noteably Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt headquartered his Rough Riders at the hotel before deploying to Cuba.

The hotel closed after Henry B. Plant died, but the city eventually bought it from his heirs. It now houses a University, but the building still stands in all of its magnificent beauty.

10 comments:

Karen said...

I enjoy reading about your area. My mom lived in Zephyrhills but we didn't get down there as much as we should have. Part of me is sad that we couldn't keep her place. Winter is not my thing and I don't like to drive on snowy roads. But my kids and grandkids are here in the northeast!! Too bad I couldn't get everyone to move South!

Pat said...

What a place that hotel must have been in its prime! I'm glad the buildings are still standing and used. Too often, historical places are torn down...which is sad. Thanks for these interesting posts!

Quilter Going Bananas said...

That hotel is incredible! Glad it's being used today as part of a University, a great idea:^) I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts of the tour of your city and all the pics too.

julia said...

Beautiful! I love to visit historical buildings. They used to build them with so much more detail than they do now.

Allie said...

Oh how lovely is that. They really don't make ANYTHING like they used to. I'd love to take a tour of that place!

Crispy said...

Wow what a lovely hotel!! I would have loved to see it in it's hayday.

Crispy

Lindsey said...

AWwwwwww I'm going to cry! I'm so homesick for Tampa (even though I'm a native Atlantan)....Booo hooo hooo!
I love all of that fun history...thanks so much for sharing one of my favorite places.

Jennifer said...

What a gorgeous building!

kwiltmakr said...

That was some building for that day and age. I would love to see some of the woodwork in there.

julieQ said...

We love the architecture in these old buildings, hopefully we can see this one in person one day! The details are so wonderful. Thank you for sharing this.