This is the dome over Fletcher Lounge at the University of Tampa. Elaborate minaret-shaped dormers encircle the dome and mimic the minarets that sit atop the original Tampa Bay Hotel building. Henry Bradley Plant built this sumptuous luxury resort in 1891 to lure northerners to journey on his railway to this tropical Florida paradise. Plant selected the architectural style and he saw his dream realized. Fletcher Lounge was the main dining room for guests staying at the grand hotel and, along with the original Music Room and Grand Salon, it is used for events throughout the year.
The hotel rose up on the west banks of the Hillsborough River, right across from the small town of Tampa, and many an event and lavish formal affair have been held under this dome over the last century. The hotel's Moorish architecture was and is breathtaking when you first see it and it remains the singular most distinctive architectural feature of our city. The minarets remain the most recognizable icons on Tampa's skyline. We've grown from a few thousand citizens when it was built to close to 300,000 today, but the original hotel building still holds magical powers over residents, students and tourists alike.
I have shown the minarets, the interior of this dome in Fletcher Lounge and the highly-respected Henry B. Plant Museum in previous posts, but I never tire of showcasing this building and this jewel in our city's history. The Tampa Bay Hotel, recognized as a United States National Historic Landmark, is a special part of who we are and it is carefully preserved and maintained for future generations to enjoy. Visit the Henry B. Plant Museum website to learn more. (To learn more about the University of Tampa, click HERE.)