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.
Cotton and Chocolate
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