Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mini Vacation to Tampa/St.Petersburg

My husband and I decided to take a mini vacation to Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida for 3 nights and 4 days because it's close to home and we really hadn't seen much of these cities when we traveled through several years ago.

One of my favorite things to do no matter where I go is to tour old houses that have been  restored to their former glory. I just love history and get such a thrill to see how others lived.  The craftsmanship of those days is something to behold in itself.  Even their door handles had character.

We decided to head over to the University of Tampa and visit the Henry B. Plant Museum, formerly a luxurious hotel that opened in 1891, but now inhabited by the U of T with the exception of the museum portion.  It was originally constructed by Mr. Plant to be used as a winter resort for the very rich.  A suite of rooms back in those days cost $15.00 a night which was what one might have paid for a lavish hotel room in New York.

Henry Plant was the founder of the Plant System of railroads, steamships and hotels. He started out buying bankrupt railroad companies and soon connected rail lines between Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.  In addition to his success with the railroads, he also ventured into steamships and hotels.  Because of his efforts Florida's West Coast began to thrive.

 This is a photo of the hotel from where we parked. The protruding cylinder shaped portion in front is where the museum is located.  The rest is used by the university.
 I just had to get one of this remarkable architecture and brickwork.
 This is the entrance to the museum .

 This is a photo of one of the rooms that was used by the guests of the hotel.  They actually had the bedroom portion in the back. It had high domed ceilings and electric lights, which was not at all common in that time period.  There was also a living room in the front where you see the chair and settee. Rather than the usual armoire they had an actual closet and chest of drawers as well as a bathroom. (photos of bath in later post)
 These rooms were designed for the elite visitors and came with their own hallways that led to the outside of the hotel so that you could come and go without actually going through the main lobby.  Across the hall from the bedroom was a private music room where you could entertain guests.  If you chose to have music you would just send out for a musician to come and play for you.
I just had to get a picture of this funky lamp. It's actually a floor lamp that stand about 5' high.  The shade alone is enormous.  They used several of this style lamp throughout the hotel.
This style of "attached" chairs are still used in some hotels.  The floral patterned fabric is the original.

I will have more posts of the Henry B. Plant Museum and our other adventures over the next few days.


Christie Cottage said...

I love historical homes and building too and enjoy the period furniture.

Thanks for sharing!


helen said...

Looks like a lovely place and the weather in Florida always seems so nice!