Tampa Bay Hotel

final photos from the Plant Museum

by grace on March 23, 2020

Ok, i want one of these fabulous planters. Here are more photos from the Plant Museum, which used to be the Tampa Bay Hotel a long time ago. This is the afternoon of Fri. Feb. 21st.

I think that this odd-looking setttee/planter was something that the Plants claimed to come from…Marie Antoinette? I think they said stuff like that about some of the furnishings to get publicity. It actually looks kind of cool, but i don’t think i’d want to be sitting there with a plant tickling the back of my neck.

This is definitely the ugliest giant vase i’ve ever seen.

Great collection of spoons, including that one with an alligator handle. I love spoons like this and I have some somewhere. I should put them on display.


One room at the museum was devoted to the special collection, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the festival:

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a large parade and a host of related community events held in Tampa, Florida almost every year since 1904.[1] The theme of the festivities is an invasion by the mythical pirate José Gaspar (also known as Gasparilla), who is a popular figure in Florida folklore even though there is no evidence that he actually existed.[2] The focal point of Gasparilla is the Parade of Pirates, which is held on the last Saturday in January and is often referred to as the Gasparilla Parade. Since its inception, it has been organized by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG), an organization modeled after the “krewes” that participate in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. On Gasparilla Day, members of YMKG sail into downtown Tampa aboard their large replica pirate ship accompanied by hundreds of private boats to demand that the mayor hand over the key to the city. Afterwards, they stage a “victory parade” along Bayshore Boulevard accompanied by dozens of other krewes and community organizations, with the festivities continuing into the nighttime hours along the Tampa Riverwalk.

Gasparilla began in 1904 as an informal pirate parade that was a small part of a larger community event, such as Tampa’s May Day festival. It was first held as a stand-alone event in 1913, and after a hiatus during World War II, the Parade of Pirates has grown into the third largest parade in the United States with a local economic impact of over $20 million and an average attendance of about 300,000.

There were costumes and photos and i loved this float of giant swans.

Maybe this woman was queen of the festival in 1963? I took this photo because that’s the year i was born, plus i wish you could see this picture more close-up. The top, including the huge collar, is knitted. i’ve never seen a formal gown with a knitted top. soooo ugly.


A couple of photos of the outside. At least the minarets are still intact…

And meanwhile back at home…Kevin took this photo of Lovey our outside cat.

When we got back to our house on the river in Tampa our dinner was more food from Trader Joe’s. we then watched a movie. it all seems so very long ago…

ok then,

g.h., staying home for quite a while i bet.


a chilly florida friday

by grace on March 22, 2020

life update: still coughing. last night i took some of amy’s codeine cough syrup after waking up and coughing for about an hour. and it totally worked! i have enough to last me 7-8 night, and hopefully the nighttime coughing will be gone? otherwise i’ll have to go to Priority Care to get some more and i don’t really want to be around all those sick people.

also it’s dark and snowing this Sunday march morning. maybe it’ll be the last snow of the spring. we can always hope.

back to friday morning, feb. 21st at our house in tampa. it was chilly so we sat on the bench to eat breakfast.

I don’t recall having a plan for friday, especially because it was in the 50s and incredibly windy . we decided we’d go to lunch at a place called Ulele that got great reviews. It wasn’t far from a museum I found called the Henry B. Plant Museum, on the campus of the University of Tampa.

We drove down to Ulele and found a parking spot nearby but then I noticed a big building that looked kind of interesting and people were going in and out, so we decided to check it out.

turns out it’s the the Armature, a hip new space full of many restaurants and a few stalling stuff. the main section is like a modern giant food court, plus they have a few sit-down restaurants and meeting spaces and stuff. It used to be a streetcar warehouse/repair place, and it was quite cool.

It was crowded and i kept announcing that must have been because it was sunday…but a woman at one of the booths pointed out that it wasn’t sunday, it was friday. a server at the place where we got some fantastic pizza said it wasn’t even very crowded right then. It seemed so crowded to me. here’s a very brief video so you can hear how loud it is.

After our delicious pizza we headed to the Henry B. Plant Museum/

Here’s a little bit of the history of the museum. It used to be a huge and spectacular hotel built by Henry Plant in 1891. The link has more info about Plant’s busy life. It seems sad to me that he built this palatial hotel in 1891 and died only eight years later.

During the 1880’s, Henry Bradley Plant was building an empire of railroads, steamships and hotels. He wanted that empire to have a palace and that palace was the Tampa Bay Hotel. The hotel was built by Plant personally, not investors, at a cost of $2,500,000 and an additional $500,000 for furnishings. It took two years to build, covered 6 acres and was 1/4 mile long. Its 511 rooms were among the first in Florida to be completely electric. Advertised as completely fire proof, the building contained poured concrete reinforced with rails and cables in between floors. The building had all of the latest luxuries including a billiard room, barbershop, shoeshine service, beauty shop, flower shop, telegraph office, formal dining room, Grand Salon, Music Room with orchestra, and telephones in all guest rooms.

I also find it sad that even though the building remains, most of it has been incorporated into the university and the relatively small museum is relegated to the first floor. I think about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI, and the fact that it’s still going strong (well it’s still open anyway, but the spring opening will undoubtedly be postponed for who knows how long. Plus what about the whole of Mackinac Island, whose business is almost entirely the tourist trade? Worrisome.)

Sprinkled around the museum were these little notes from etiquette books in the 1890s.

I always like a swan.

And there was an even bigger one in a dining room. There was an audio guide to many of the rooms even though it’s such a small and kind of obscure museum.

Because it was February they had old Valentines on display. So beautiful.

In one room were many of the plant stands and containers that the Plants bought on their massive shopping spree abroad.

These two plant stands were my favorites. Dad would have like them.

I’d like to have a couple of these gorgeous mirrors.

In the fanciest rooms you could get a piano brought in and if you didn’t know how to play the piano somebody would come and play it for you. Deluxe.

This mantle clock is almost identical to the one we have on our mantle.

I do have more photos of the place, soon to appear here.

ok then,