Monday, October 14, 2013

Tampa Bay Hotel, ca 1900

I had been wondering for a couple of years where this very ornate building could be.  Today I have my answer, Tampa Florida.

It was originally built by Henry B. Plant, a railroad magnate, as the Tampa Bay Hotel.  It cost 3 million to build, takes up 6 acres of space for the hotel alone, had 511 rooms and was the first hotel in Florida to have an elevator, electricity and telephones.  The grounds were 150 acres and included amenities such as a golf course, race track, swimming pool and casino.  It was popular with celebrities and was used as the base of operations during the Spanish-American War.

Due to the Depression, the hotel shutdown in 1930.  Three years later the Tampa Bay Junior College moved into the building and later it became the University of Tampa.  Part of the building is leased as the Henry B. Plant Museum.

During the last 12 years of John W. Moran's life he suffered from pernicious anemia.  He and his son Harrell would travel to Florida in the hopes that the warmer climate would help with his illness.  It's likely that they stayed at the Tampa Bay Hotel during one of those trips.

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