[2] Subsequently, he either built or purchased the Hotel Punta Gorda (1887), Inn at Port Tampa (1888), Hotel Kissimmee (1890), Seminole Hotel (1891), The Ocala House (1883), and the Fort Myers Hotel (1898). In 1898, this hotel gained international fame as the stateside military headquarters for the U.S. invasion force during the Spanish–American War. Henry B. In 1879 he purchased, with others, the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad of Georgia, and later reorganized the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad, of which he became president. "Henry Plant and Florida," Florida Historical Society. In discussions of railroads and their impact on Florida’s growth, Henry Flagler … To schedule a small group tour of the Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens, please email site-manager @ rossetterhousemuseum.org, or call 321-254-9855. foreshadowed by J. W. Fitzgerald in 1895 when he stated, “The Plant System…a monument to [Plant’s] memory [is] more lasting than brass and more enduring than marble.”  Much of Plant’s legacy can be seen today. Convinced of the eventual economic revival of the South, he bought at foreclosure sales in 1879 and 1880 the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad and the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. He opened the Waycross Short Line in 1881, a short cut between Waycross, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, taking the first steps toward opening the state. After spending a month there, he traveled to Canada, Connecticut, and then England. Plant Museum. Jesup, and W.T. Streets in Tampa and Port Tampa bear the names of Plant family members and Plant System officers. 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. Henry Bradley Plant (October 27, 1819 – June 23, 1899), was a businessman, entrepreneur, investor involved with many transportation interests and projects, mostly railroads, in the southeastern United States. After a few years he was put in charge of the old York office of the company. He built a golf course, tennis courts, boathouse, and horse racing track for the amusement of his guests. Cities such as Plant City, Sanford, Auburndale, Trilby, and Port Tampa attribute their development to Henry Plant. These improvements benefited the Plant Line that sailed from Tampa to Havana, Mobile, and Jamaica. A whole State blossoms at the touch of his magic wand.". Turkel, S. (2000). At the approach of the Civil War the directors of Adams Express, fearing the confiscation of their Southern properties, decided to sell them to Plant for his promissory note of $500,000. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Adams Express Company sold their southern express line holdings to Henry. Henry began his professional life at the age of 18 working as a captain’s boy for the New Haven Steamboat Company that ran between New York and New Haven. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 2:28:30 AM ET. (1966). Thanks to the Plant System, Florida’s young tourism industry also boomed as the untamed wilderness became more accessible to travelers seeking the healing properties of the temperate climate, refuge from harsh northern winters, and a romp in the exotic landscape. In his will he attempted to prevent the partition of his properties to the value of about $10,000,000 by forming a trust for the benefit of his grandson, Henry Plant II (born 1895), but the will was contested by his widow and son and declared invalid under the laws of the state of New York. Henry immersed himself in his network of southern railroads and began purchasing bankrupt railroads in 1879. Plant Museum members are admitted at no charge. He went south in 1853 and established express l… Rail travel wasn’t Plant’s sole focus during the 1880s. The subsequent growth in wealth and population of Florida and other states tributary to the Plant System made its founder one of the richest and most powerful men in the South. Cocoa, FL: Florida Historical Society. Plant High School opened in 1926. Plant wanted his Tampa Bay Hotel to compete with the grand hotels of his rival Henry Flagler, so visitors were offered every possible amenity. The next year, after it became necessary for his wife to again travel south for her health, he requested and obtained the responsibility for all Adams Express Company's interests in the territory south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers. In the face of great difficulties, he successfully organized and extended express service across this region, where transportation facilities, although rapidly growing, were still deficient and uncoordinated. “He started buying up bankrupt railroad lines after the Civil War, and eventually they worked themselves down to the middle of Florida and then crossed over to the west coast and went all the way down to Fort Myers.”. Johnson, D.S. When Henry B. His most prized hotel was the Tampa Bay Hotel, a lavish resort built right across the Hillsborough River from Tampa. All the women were given fresh aprons and bonnets, the ones who peeled the cucumbers were given a free manicure once a week. He is a builder – a creator. Before his death in 1899, Plant helped to develop Florida with railways, steamships, and luxury hotels. (2004). The couple had two children, but only Morton Freeman Plant survived to adulthood. He is put in charge of express parcels and is successful in organizing this business. Plant born in Branford, CT to Betsey (Bradley) and Anderson Plant, a farmer. Plant was born in 1819, Florida was still under Spanish control. Laurys Station, PA: Garrigues House. "Henry B. A huge covered porch extends across the front of the former Tampa Bay Hotel. At that time, no other person had dedicated as much time, energy, and money to the advancement of Florida. Henry Bradley Plant (October 27, 1819 – June 23, 1899), was a businessman, entrepreneur, investor involved with many transportation interests and projects, mostly railroads, in the southeastern United States. His grandmother, Betsy Plant, who hoped to make a clergyman of him, offered him an education at Yale College, but, impatient to begin an active career, he got a job as captain's boy, deck hand, and man-of-all-work on a steamboat, The New York, plying between New Haven and New York City. Plant reorganized and renamed it the Southern Express Company, with rail lines running through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. At the age of six, he lost his father and younger sister to typhus fever and was raised by his mother and grandmother. The Plant System was the most profitable transportation network in Florida during the 1880s and 1890s, connecting Florida producers with Eastern seaboard consumers. Henry B. Plant’s network of railroads and steamships enticed many industries to Tampa, most notably Vicente Martinez Ybor’s cigar industry. Plant Museum. When the boy was six, his father and younger sister died of typhus. Henry Plant and Henry Flagler were friendly competitors who sometimes worked together. New York: Putnam. “When he got here in the early 1880s, there were only 750 people living here,” says Shifke. For the accommodation of winter visitors he built in Tampa, in the style of a Moorish palace, an enormous hotel costing over $3,000,000 and covering 6 acres situated on 150 acres. He purchased the People’s Line of Steamboats that sailed along Florida’s rivers. He constantly promoted Florida’s attributes at world’s fairs and expositions and published thousands of promotional materials to advertise Florida and its attributes.

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