PLANT SYSTEM BOOK COMING! : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

One of the greatest icons of Florida history was Henry Bradley Plant (1819-1899), a Connecticut native who founded the South's first great business dynasty.

Author Seth Bramson and I have completed a major work about his achievements entitled, The Plant System of Railroads, Steamships & Hotels. The book will focus on how Plant created his triumvirate beginning in the late 1870s.

After Plant died, his railroad fiefdom, comprised of 2,235 miles of track in four states, was sold to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902. Many of the routes that Plant purchased or built are today used by CSX and Amtrak trains. None of the steamships have been preserved, but at one time Plant vessels served a variety of destinations, including Key West, Havana, Mobile, Florida's lower Gulf coast, and the maritime provinces of Canada. Always solicitous of travelers and tourists, Plant also created a chain of eight distinctive hotels, two of which survive: the Tampa Bay Hotel (home of the University of Tampa and the Henry B. Plant Museum) and the elegant Belleview near Clearwater.

Lavishly illustrated with many rare and never before seen images, the book will be released later this year by Garrigues House Publishers in PA, owned by Paul Kuehner of Rails-N-Shafts fame. Ordering information will soon be released.

Please contact Seth ( me for further information.

Gregg Turner

-- Gregg Turner (, February 21, 2004


Greg, in your post, you mentioned that Plant created a chain of eight distinctive hotels,two of which survive. Actually, another of Plant's hotels still survives, and is located in Sanford, FL. It is a lot smaller than the other hotels, and perhaps was the earliest one built. It served the needs of passengers transferring between steamboats on the St. Johns River and Plant's railroad line between Sanford and Tampa.

The hotel in Sanford was also constructed in the Turkish motif, but much more plainer that the other hotels. Perhaps most importantly, it is still standing and is currently in use as a commercial office building.

Best wishes!

Aaron Dowling

-- Aaron Dowling (, April 21, 2004.

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