Author Topic: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida  (Read 7940 times)

Metro Jacksonville

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • MetroJacksonville.com
Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« on: July 21, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida



Jacksonville and much of Florida owes a lot of gratitude to this railroad tycoon, whose 19th century infrastructure investments have paved the way for a 21st century Florida.


Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-jul-henry-b-plant-the-king-of-florida

Adam White

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3810
    • Facebook
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 03:12:34 AM »
Great article.
“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.”

For_F-L-O-R-I-D-A

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 03:32:15 AM »
I encourage everyone to go visit the Plant Museum. It is really something to behold. Everyone from Babe Ruth,to Thomas Edison, and Teddy Roosevelt stayed there.

The two grand old cities of Florida, Tampa and Jacksonville, forever linked.


(If you look on those old railroad maps, Orlando doesn't even show up for several more decades)

urbanlibertarian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3610
  • Duuuvaall!!
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 09:38:27 AM »
Sweet.  Keep the history stuff coming.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes (Who watches the watchmen?)

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 09:51:26 AM »
Plant was pretty instrumental in jump starting urban growth in both cities. Here's the population of both between 1850 and 1930. Plant's first investment in Jax was streetcars in 1879. A year later, he extended his railroad to Jax (basically where the CSX building sits today). In 1883, his railroad reaches Tampa.

Tampa

1850 - 974
1870 - 796
1880 - 720 (Plant's railroad reaches Tampa in late 1883. Vicente Martinez Ybor moves his cigar operations to Tampa from Key West. Cigars shipped to US market by Plant's railroad.)
1890 - 5,532
1900 - 15,839
1910 - 37,782
1920 - 51,608 (Tampa annexes West Tampa, the other cigar manufacturing suburb, in 1925)
1930 - 101,161


Jacksonville

1850 - 1,045
1860 - 2,118
1870 - 6,912 (Plant establishes the Jacksonville Street Railway Company in 1879)
1880 - 7,650 (Plant's railroad is extended from Waycross to Jacksonville in 1881. Jax's populations increases 125% in the years between Plant's railroad arrival and Flagler extending the FEC across the river)
1890 - 17,201 (Flagler extends the FEC across the St. Johns in 1890)
1900 - 28,429
1910 - 57,699
1920 - 91,558
1930 - 129,549
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 04:46:11 PM »
So you're saying Plant was insignificant to the late 19th century growth of Jax and Tampa?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 05:22:16 PM »
Interesting, considering Jax grew along his streetcar lines and his rail and steamboat lines bringing tourist to the state. My guess is, if not for the setbacks like Yellow Fever, Jax would have been larger thanit was by 1900.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 07:49:20 PM »
So you're saying Plant was insignificant to the late 19th century growth of Jax and Tampa?

sure at least as far as Jax is concerned.  Notice the disproportionate numbers comparatively.  between 80 and 90, for example, tampa grows 700%.

In Jax it barely doubles.

Between 1880 and 1890, Jax grew 125%, outgrowing Tampa in absolute numbers! That's higher than the 103% during the rebuilding after the Great Fire (1900 - 1910). That's pretty insane growth, especially when you factor in the deaths and bad press of the yellow fever outbreak that decade. The only decade since then that we've "grown" higher than that percentage is when the city merged with the county. 1960 to 1970, due to consolidation, the official city population grew 163%. Without a doubt, Plant's investments in Jax were significant in the 19th century and they keep on paying dividends for the city's economy today.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Redbaron616

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 182
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 08:07:34 PM »
Imagine, no mention of massive taxpayer subsidies. The old guys could learn a few things from corporations today who perpetually look to government at all levels to shovel money into their pockets. They did it the hard way back then. How silly, when there are taxpayers everywhere you look, just waiting to be fleeced by the next corporation!

Rest in Peace, Mr. Plant. You earned it the old fashioned way.

acme54321

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3067
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2015, 11:59:12 PM »
Imagine, no mention of massive taxpayer subsidies. The old guys could learn a few things from corporations today who perpetually look to government at all levels to shovel money into their pockets. They did it the hard way back then. How silly, when there are taxpayers everywhere you look, just waiting to be fleeced by the next corporation!

Rest in Peace, Mr. Plant. You earned it the old fashioned way.

You should do a little Google search on "railroad land grants"

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 07:39:53 AM »
Both Henry Plant and Henry Flagler definitely took advantage of railroad land grants to expand their holdings.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

fieldafm

  • Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4679
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2015, 08:03:06 AM »
In addition to railroad land grants (IE, millions of acres of free land), Plant also benefitted from the use of prison labor (leased from the State for pennies on the dollar, you can search to learn about the deplorable conditions of prison labor during this time) to construct various stretches of his railroad lines... and also benefitted greatly from payments from the federal government during the Spanish-American War (various Plant companies obtained exclusive rights to transport US troops by ship and rail as well as providing and constructing quarters for said troops).

Plant wisely took advantage of Florida's debt problems as well as the perilous financial conditions of many short line railroads in assembling/building his rail/shipping empire in Florida.

Adam White

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3810
    • Facebook
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 08:17:31 AM »
So the evidence is in - Plant did indeed earn his fortune "the old fashioned way!"
“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.”

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2015, 11:34:46 AM »
Lol, how did they get to town? Delta? JetBlue?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34899
    • Modern Cities
Re: Henry B. Plant: The King of Florida
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 11:44:02 AM »
BTW, the same yellow fever epidemic also devastated Tampa. We're not so unique in some aspects of our history.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali