Plant’s Palace and Tampa’s Christmas Past

One of my favorite things about the Tampa Bay Area (besides the beaches, of course…) is discovering the little nuggets of its unique history. That’s what a writer loves to do — we soak up everything. And in the process we’re able to see how the big picture developed and show it to you through our stories.

Very often, the things I learn about Tampa’s history inform my books. Such as the island where Judge Willa Carson lives my fantasy life, Plant Key, and her home, George’s Place.

So for a moment, let’s zoom in to Tampa in 1891. That’s when a hotel, so opulent it was nicknamed “Plant’s Palace,” opened for business. The Tampa Bay Hotel was the creation of Henry B. Plant, who brought the railroad to Tampa several years prior. He thought the hotel would give people a reason to use the railroad. And he was right!

Plant Museum Exterior

Photo © Elizabeth DeBevoise


Local newspapers touted the Tampa Bay Hotel as “brightly illuminated, filled with sumptuous decorations, thrilling music and graced with turrets, domes and minarets towering heavenward and glistening in the sun.” The hotel offered fishing, sailing, billiards, golf, hunting… and the list goes on. It even had electricity and telephones!

Spending time at Plant’s Palace was truly a Golden Christmas in 1891! Imagine your perspective!

Golden Christmas


Thanks to careful preservation, those of us living in this modern age may step back in time and visit that hotel, which is now the Henry B. Plant Museum. And this time of year, at an event called “The Victorian Christmas Stroll”, we can revisit 1891 as it looked at Christmastime. This wonderfully specific point of view is a writer’s dream come true.

Christmas Hall

Photo © Elizabeth DeBevoise

We can wander the halls and inspect the nooks and crannies, discovering details that so delight readers in my fiction. Otherwise, I might never have learned (and been able to share with you) this little piece of wisdom, which is likely to come in very handy some day, don’t you think?

Toilet Wisdom

Photo © Elizabeth DeBevoise

As always, thanks for reading. And have a Very Merry Christmas and we’ll see you on December 26 for a terrific event!

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

p.s. Would a little extra cash in your budget make a difference?  We might be able to help with that. Are you a member of the Diane Capri Crowd NewsFlash! mailing list?  Just CLICK HERE to complete the form and refer your friends, too. Can’t wait to see you there!

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One Response to Plant’s Palace and Tampa’s Christmas Past

  1. Kassandra Lamb December 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Thanks, Diane. It’s always fun to find out the history behind things. Hope you and yours have a great Christmas!

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