March 9 – December 31, 2011
An article titled “Henry B. Plant, The King of Florida” appeared in the November 1898 issue of Success Magazine. In it, the author wrote that “South of Mason and Dixon’s Line, probably no name is better known – unless it be those of the living Confederate leaders, than that of Henry B. Plant, founder and manager of the “Plant System” of travel. The article went on to state “Fifteen years ago, Mr. Plant pointed to the isolated, hot, sandy little village of Tampa, containing six or seven hundred people. There, said he, we will have a city. There, across the river, we will build one of the greatest hotels of the world. Ten miles down the coast, where there is nothing but sandy beach, we will have a deep-water port, and establish communication with the West Indies and Central America.”
Henry Plant: King of Florida exhibit outlines the secrets to Mr. Plant’s success, his extraordinary vision, his many accomplishments and his legacy. He was highly revered by his 12,000 employees and during the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta; Plant System Day was devoted to the commemoration of Plant’s extraordinary service to the South. The Atlanta Constitution wrote in 1895 “Mr. Plant is one of those remarkable men who masters all conditions and creates environment. He is a builder – a creator. A whole state blossoms at the touch of his magic wand.”
Exhibit vignettes trace Mr. Plant’s early beginnings as a cabin boy in New England, to New York and then south to Georgia and Florida. Rare photographs and artifacts on loan from private collectors, historical societies, and museums are displayed. A projector displays oversized images of trains, steamships, depots, Plant System hotels and rare footage of vintage trains in motion.
In the interactive portion of the exhibit, visitors learn the meaning of conductor’s signals, the uses of the various whistle sounds and how passenger tickets designated where one rode on a train or steamship.
Henry Plant: King of Florida exhibit is underwritten by The Saunders Foundation.
Category: Past Exhibits