It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when the Bay wasn’t connected to the rest of Florida and the world, with planes, trains and cars. But when investor Henry B. Plant returned to the South following the Civil War, he strove to connect the isolated port with extensive railroad lines.
Railroads weren’t the only thing he built. To handle the sudden increase in visitors, he built the Tampa Bay Hotel with a steep price tag of $3 million.
His Moorish-style palace boasted 511 rooms on 125-acres, the first elevator in Florida and the only electric lights in Tampa.
– Margot Calmar, The 100 Companies