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Chronology

Henry B. Plant and the Tampa Bay Hotel

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The Chronology of Henry Plant, the Plant System & the Tampa Bay Hotel is the Henry Plant Museum’s authoritative timeline of Plant’s personal and professional life, development of the Plant System and the Tampa Bay Hotel.

 
  • 1819    Henry B. Plant born in Branford, CT to Betsey (Bradley) and Anderson Plant, a farmer.
  • 1837    18 year-old Henry begins work as a captain’s boy for the New Haven Steamboat Company plying the waters between New Haven, CT and New York.  He is put in charge of express parcels and is successful in organizing this business.  Later the Adams Express Company took over and Plant eventually works his way up to work in the New York office.
  • 1842    Marries Ellen Elizabeth Blackstone.       
  • 1845    George Plant is born.  George Plant dies.
  • 1852    Morton Freeman Plant is born.
  • 1853    Ellen Plant is ordered south for her health.  The Plants spend several months in Jacksonville, FL.
  • 1854    Plant appointed Superintendent of the Adams Express Company’s Southern Division, Augusta, Georgia.  He is very successful in organizing and expanding the business.
  • 1861     Ellen Plant dies.
  • At the outbreak of the Civil War, Plant purchases the southern holdings of the Adams Express Company.  He renames it the Southern Express Company and serves as president until his death. 
  • 1863    Plant makes his first trip to Europe.
  • 1865    Plant returns to U.S.
  • 1873    Marries Margaret Josephine Loughman.
  • 1879    Plant purchases the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.
  • 1880    Plant purchases Savannah & Charleston Railway beginning a transportation system along the southern Atlantic seaboard that grows to include fourteen railway companies.
  • 1880    Tampa’s population is approximately 720.
  • 1882    Plant Investment Company (PICO) formed to manage the various components of the Plant System.
  • 1882    Plant purchases the People’s Line of Steamboats that sailed the Chattahoochee, Flint, & Apalachiacola Rivers.
  • 1883    Plant purchases the Tampa to Kissimmee franchise of the Jacksonville, Tampa, and Key West Railway.
  • 1884    Henry Plant brings the railroad to Tampa.
  • 1884    Ichepucksassa renamed Plant City in honor of Henry Plant.
  • 1885    Plant Steamship Line established running between Port Tampa, Key West, and Havana.
  • 1886    Plant obtains the U.S. mail contract for Key West and Havana mail routes.
  • 1887    Charter for the City of Tampa established.
  • 1887    Plant begins to develop Port Tampa as a deepwater port.
  • 1888    July 26th the cornerstone of the Tampa Bay Hotel is laid, Mayor Glogowski presiding.
  • 1888    Plant System completes a nine-mile railroad spur connecting Tampa to Port Tampa.
  • 1888    The Inn at Port Tampa opens, Plant’s first hotel.
  • 1889    Mr. and Mrs. Plant tour Europe, attend the Paris Exposition, purchase decorative items and furnishings for the Tampa Bay Hotel.
  • 1890    Plant purchases Hotel Kissimmee in Kissimmee.
  • 1890    Tampa’s population is 5,532 and growing.
  • 1890-93 Development of the Plant Line’s New England and Canadian steamship routes between Boston, Halifax, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island.
  • 1891    February 5th “’Tis Done!” Plant opens the Tampa Bay Hotel as a winter resort.
  • 1891    Plant purchases the Seminole Hotel in Winter Park.
  • 1893    Plant attends the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and displays an exhibit of Florida’s industries.
  • 1894    Plant System purchases Hotel Punta Gorda in Punta Gorda.
  • 1895    October 28th, Plant honored at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta with Plant System Day. The Plant System exhibition building at the exposition was made of phosphate and shaped in the form of a pyramid.
  • 1895    PICO purchases the Ocala House in Ocala.
  • 1895    Only grandchild Henry Bradley Plant II born to Morton Freeman Plant and Nellie Capron Plant.
  • 1896    Tampa Bay Casino is built on the Tampa Bay Hotel grounds between the hotel and the Hillsborough River.
  • 1897    Hotel Belleview opens in Belleair.
  • 1897    Plant travels to Japan with a letter of introduction to the Emperor of Japan from Florida Governor Bloxham.
  • 1898    May, Tampa Bay Hotel becomes headquarters and temporary home for military personnel, war correspondents, and dignitaries associated with the staging of troops to fight the Spanish-American War (Theodore Roosevelt, and other notables, stay at the Tampa Bay Hotel).
  • 1898    Plant purchases Fort Myers Hotel in Fort Myers.
  • 1898    Tampa’s population is 25,000.
  • 1899    June 23rd, Henry Plant dies of a heart attack at his home in New York City, 586 Fifth Avenue.
  • 1900    Plant Steamship Line merges with Florida East Coast Steamship Company to become Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Company. Morton Plant serves as Vice President.
  • 1900    Ocala House, Fort Myers Hotel, and Hotel Punta Gorda sold shortly after Plant’s death.
  • 1902    Majority of Plant System railroads sold to Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company.
  • 1902    The Inn, at Port Tampa, acquired by Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company.
  • 1902    Seminole Hotel burns down.
  • 1904    The first Gasparilla invasion begins in Plant Park and the Coronation Ball is held in Tampa Bay Hotel dining room.  Florida State Fair held on grounds and in the hotel Exposition Building.
  • 1905    Tampa Bay Hotel and 150 acres of land bought by the City of Tampa for $125,000.00 and becomes center of Tampa’s social life.
  • 1906    Hotel Kissimmee burns down.
  • 1918    Morton Plant dies.
  • 1918    Hotel Belleview is sold.
  • 1921    The Inn at Port Tampa is destroyed in a hurricane.
  • 1932    Tampa Bay Hotel closes forever as a lavish winter resort hotel.
  • 1933    Tampa Bay Hotel is leased to The University of Tampa by the city.  Tampa Municipal Museum is founded.
  • 1938    Henry Bradley Plant II dies.
  • 1941    Tampa Bay Casino burns to the ground.
  • 1974    Tampa Municipal Museum renamed the Henry B. Plant Museum to better match its mission and continues as an accredited museum by the American Association of Museums.
  • 1976    Tampa Bay Hotel building, now H. B. Plant Hall, is granted National Historic Landmark status for its role in the Spanish-American War.
  • 2000    Henry Plant Museum is granted accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.