Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Plant Museum

Plant Museum Grand HallExperience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 31st annual Victorian Christmas Stroll from December 1st to 23rd, 2012, 10 am to 8 pm daily.

Beneath towering silver minarets, an extravagantly adorned former Tampa Bay Hotel captures the spirit of the season – Victorian style.  There are 14 exhibit rooms; each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories.  While strolling down the Grand Hallway, your spirits will soar as you become immersed in carolers singing, Charles Dickens, much loved toys and wrapped gifts, Christmas stockings and Old Saint Nick.

For those seeking tree-trimming inspirations, beveled crystals and prisms, masquerade masks, chess pieces, origami, men’s hats from the “Grand Tour”, and antique toys will grace this year’s Christmas trees.

Where’s Henry? is a game that ignites the passion for exploration in children and the young at heart. Strategically placed in each exhibit room, amid the myriad of decorations, is an image of Henry Plant, the founder of the Hotel.  Armed with a checklist, the adventure begins to see if they can locate his image in every room. If they are successful, they will receive a prize.

The Victorian Christmas Stroll preserves the essence of an old-fashioned Christmas and is treasured as Tampa’s most popular family tradition. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform music for your merriment. Visitors are invited to sing with the carolers in front of the 15-foot tree in the hallway. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are December 3, 4,10, and 11 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths. Group tours are welcome: please make reservations for parties of 20 or more with Sally Shifke, Museum Relations Coordinator, (813) 258-7302.

The Museum Store has a huge selection of merchandise, from gorgeous ornaments to silver serving pieces and exquisite holiday accessories. The Museum Store also offers books, fragrances, jewelry, children’s toys, stationery, and home accessories. Enjoy shopping in a unique Victorian atmosphere: the Museum Store is open from 10 am to 8 pm daily and no admission is required.

Proceeds from the Victorian Christmas Stroll fund significant museum restoration and preservation projects, as well as educational programming.

The Christmas Stroll could not be possible without the generous support of: The Beck Group, Macy’s, Jacarlene Foundations, New York Yankees Tampa Foundation and The Tampa Tribune,

The Henry B. Plant Museum interprets the turn-of-the-century Tampa Bay Hotel and the lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age.  Critical to the success of this mission is the restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark.

Preservation Roundtable – Ocotber 2012

The Preservation Roundtable will meet on it’s regular schedule –
9:00 AM
in the conference room of the TPI/Ybor Museum Society offices
 (2009 N. 18th Street – corner of Palm and 18th).
Please join other preservation-minded citizens in discussing issues facing the Tampa Bay area.

Preservation Roundtable – May 2012

The Preservation Roundtable will meet on Wednesday May 2nd at 9:00 AM. For THIS MONTH ONLY we will be meeting at the Life Center of the Metro 510 project (the historic St. Paul AME Church) at 502 E. Harrison Street. All Tampa area residents interested in the preservation of the Tampa Bay area’s built resources are welcome to attend. For more information contact TPI.

Hyde Park Historic Home Tour 2012

Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association will hold its Tenth Annual Home Tour on Saturday March 17, 2012. In addition, the Association will sponsor a Patron’s Party on March 3, 2012.

The Home Tour is open from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm on March 17. Advance tickets are $20 and may be purchased on the website, through the Online Store under Events. Advance tickets may also be purchased at any Coldwell Banker location in Hillsborough or Pinellas county, or at City Street Sweets shop in Hyde Park Village in Tampa.

Registration is at Kate Jackson Park at 821 S. Rome Avenue, starting at 9:00 am the day of the tour. Advance ticket holders will need to go to the registration table to receive a wrist-band and a tour guide booklet with information about the homes and map for the walking tour. Tickets are available on the day of the tour for $25.

The tour will showcase Hyde Park’s rich architectural heritage with a number of private homes open to visitors. The Hyde Park community, developed early in the 20th century, is today one of the most intact bungalow residential communities in the United States. The tour will include historic homes and select new construction built in Hyde Park architectural styles. Celebrating the home tour’s 10th anniversary, the 80 homes featured in previous home tours will be honored and there will be an extensive showing of vintage automobiles.

The Patron’s Party will be on March 3, 2012, from 7 pm to 10 pm. The theme is High Society 1930s, with attendees encouraged to dress the part in fashionable society 1930s evening attire (or jacket and tie). There will be live music, a silent auction, martini bar, wine, bountiful hors d’oeuvres and hand-rolled cigars. Tickets are $100 per person and must be reserved in advance, as tickets are limited for this special evening. Tickets may be purchased on the website, or by sending a ticket request and check to Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, PO Box 2990, Tampa FL, 33601.

The funds raised from the Tour and its Patron’s Party will be used to continue to improve Hyde Park, most significantly to mark and beautify the gateway entrances to this jewel of a historic neighborhood.

For more information:

Home Tour Email:
Home Tour Phone: (813) 915-6633, ext. 2

Preservation Roundtable – February 2012

The Preservation Roundtable will meet on Wednesday, February 1st at 9:00 am at Tampa Union Station, 2nd floor conference room. Anyone interested in historic preservation issues in Hillsborough County is invited to attend. For more information, call the Tampa Preservation, Inc. office.

History-related Holiday Gift Idea #1

Want to get something unique for the Tampa-lover on your list? Consider these great notecards from Tampa Changing that feature iconic Tampa architecture. Website owner and Tampa native Bryan Weinstein finds historic photographs of historic buildings and rephotographs the buildings for great Now and Then images that document our area’s changing history. The set of ten 5″x7″ notecards include images of Tampa Theatre, The Tampa Bay Hotel, Franklin Street, 7th Avenue, and the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory.

Prints of each of the rephotographs are also available on the website which are suitable for framing. Many of these prints are available at the Tampa Bay History Center Gift Shop as well.

Ybor City History Documentary

Cigar City Magazine presents “Tales from the Underground” on Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. at The Buzz, 710 Harbour Post Drive, Tampa, Fl 33602.

A cocktail hour will be held from 7 – 8 p.m. Guests can meet Cigar City Mafia author Scott Deitche and Charlie Wall The Documentary producers Pete and Paul Guzzo. Jon Fisher, the documentary’s artist as well as co-creator of Blood Is Thicker – Ybor City’s first fictional graphic novel about its organized crime history – will also be on hand and will be showcasing some of his artwork.

At 8 p.m. Scott Deitche will lead a brief discussion before the multi-award winning 60-minute documentary on Charlie Wall is shown.

Charlie Wall The Documentary: It may have been the South, but in the early 1900s Tampa, FL, specifically its Latin community known as Ybor City, was more reminiscent of the Wild West. Gambling parlors and whore houses were located on seemingly every corner in Ybor City, shootouts between police and gangsters were a regular occurrence, election ballot boxes were stuffed, police and politicians were on the take, and very few residents found any of this to be odd. The man behind all this insanity was, Charlie Wall, Tampa’s first crime lord and perhaps the earliest crime lord to control most of Florida. This documentary tells the tale of one the nation’s most unknown gangsters.

Tickets are $5 and proceeds will be donated to Philanthropic Young Tampa Bay.
To purchase tickets, visit and hit the “SHOP” button.

V.M. Ybor Neighborhood Historic Home Tour

On Sunday, October 16th from 11am – 5pm, the V.M. Ybor Neighborhood Association will host its Third Annual Home Tour. V.M. Ybor is located just north of Ybor City and has held an important place in Ybor history since its inception. Home to over 3,000 residents, the neighborhood is rich in history and within walking / biking distance to Ybor City and downtown Tampa.

This “not so typical” home tour features the eclectic, diverse and historic V.M. Ybor community. With 8 gorgeous houses, along with the last operating cigar factory in Tampa, the tour will be sure to please local residents, historians, and visitors alike. While many homes have been restored or remodeled, they all still contain original elements that characterize our unique community. The self guided tour will begin from the Academy Prep Center of Tampa (1407 E. Columbus Drive), where guests will receive neighborhood maps and information on each of the featured properties.

As a Bonus
Academy Prep (the former VM Ybor Grammar School) will be the registration point and will be open for visitors to catch a glimpse into the southern anchor of our historic neighborhood – the school where many children first learned English at the turn of the century. It has been beautifully restored and is utilized as a privately funded Middle School. And… Home Encounter, located in a relocated historic grocery store, will serve as this year’s “rest stop” complete with Michele Faedo’s Food Truck for authentic Ybor snacks (think amazing deviled crab and Cubans)!

Quick Facts
When: Sunday, October 16th 2011 11:00am to 5:00pm
Where: Self-guided tour starts at Acedmy Prep Center of Tampa – 1407 E. Columbus Drive and includes
the entire VM Ybor neighborhood
$8.00 per person in advance (online at )
$10.00 day of event

All proceeds to benefit the VM Ybor Neighborhood Association and bettering our community

Tampa Bay History Center Looking for Docents

Do you have a passion for history? Want to learn more about Florida and the Tampa Bay region, and share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others? If so, apply to become a volunteer docent at the History Center. Docents are the History Center’s welcoming faces and informed voices, leading thousands of school children through the galleries for lively and interactive lessons.

The History Center is currently recruiting applicants for their 2011 training class. No experience is necessary-the only prerequisites are enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to learn. For more information, contact Julie Henry Matus at 813-675-8981 or