In this situation, he found his opportunity. Henry Plant built the port, and eventually brought the railroads. At the age of six, he lost his father and younger sister to typhus fever and was raised by his mother, step-father and grandmother. His most prized hotel was the Tampa Bay Hotel, a lavish resort built right across the Hillsborough River from Tampa. The couple had two children, but only Morton Freeman Plant survived to adulthood. 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. When the boy was six, his father and younger sister died of typhus. In the 1880s, most of his accumulated railroad and steamship lines were combined into the Plant System, which later became part of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Reynolds, K. (2003). Henry Bradley Plant was founder of the Plant System of railroads and steamboats. He married Ellen Elizabeth Blackstone in 1842. In 1863, claiming a serious illness, he left his home in Augusta with a safe passage document signed by Jefferson Davis and sailed to Bermuda. 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. He was honored at the Cotton States and International Exhibition in 1895 in Atlanta, GA with his own, Henry Plant Day. 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. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 2:28:30 AM ET. After the Civil War, Plant returned to New York where he later met and married Margaret Josephine Loughman in 1873. Another large, Victorian-style hotel established by Plant during the 1890s was the Belleview Biltmore near Clearwater, Florida. The lobby of the Tampa Bay Hotel, circa 1898. Plant was transferred from steamboats to railroads. These significant contributions to the development of Florida and Tampa Bay are why Success magazine dubbed Henry Plant “the King of Florida” in 1898. Plant’s lasting legacy was. Henry Plant: Pioneer empire builder. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Adams Express Company sold their southern express line holdings to Henry. Ford, R. C. & Peterson, P. (2011). | He purchased and rebuilt, in 1880, the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, now Charleston and Savannah. He had one surviving son that lived in New York City, and when Henry Plant passed away, there was no one really to carry the torch for him. Not long after this he organized the Plant Investment Co., to control these railroads and advance their interests generally, and later established a steamboat line on the St. John's river, in Florida. It was purchased by the city of Tampa 1905. All rights reserved. In H. Montgomery (Ed). Plant is particularly known for connecting the previously isolated Tampa Bay area and southwest Florida to the nation's railroad system and establishing regular steamship service between Tampa, Cuba, and Key West, helping to spark tremendous population and economic growth in the region.
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