Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tea at the beach … quite a few years ago!

The Library of Congress has again turned up a jewel of an old teatime photo, and this one is from the Jewel Box Tea Garden in Tampa, Florida, taken October 19, 1923. I was a little concerned about the women wearing long-sleeved dresses and hats at an outdoor tea in Florida until I realized the tea was held in October. That not only made it okay but also made it seem like quite a lovely idea! The summary on the Library of Congress website says simply, "Women having a tea party around fountain."

I was trying to learn more about this tea garden when I came across a postcard of a similar scene, only this one is tinted. You can check it out here and note the particularly *interesting* outfit one of the women in the foreground is wearing!

Another website revealed this tea party scene was staged in "Plant Park,"which was an attraction of the Tampa Bay Hotel. The word "Plant," I learned, doesn't refer to horticulture but to Henry B. Plant, a railroad magnate who built this luxurious hotel in the sands of Tampa in 1891. Since 1933, the Tampa Bay Hotel has been home of the Henry B. Plant Museum and the University of Tampa, and the building is a National Historic Landmark. This definitely looks like a place to visit for anyone traveling in the Tampa Bay area!


  1. This was likely quite the event to attend, looks like the ladies are enjoying themselves.

  2. That is very interesting ! I have not heard of the museum but I am close enough to check it out!

  3. You share the best information, Angela!

  4. Love all the hats! I always say I was born too late!

  5. How I would have love having tea here many years ago. What a fun find! Loved the costume too. I am guessing she was part of the entertainment as there were musicians around her.

  6. What an amazing story - and amazing photos! I would have enjoyed going to this tea.

    What's also amazing is how "early" this was (1923) in Florida history (so much was still swampland and undiscovered) It's neat that these celebrants were bringing in the custom of tea, maybe they were transplants from Boston?

    So many of the early settlers of Florida that we studied were part of the railroad industry (Henry Flagler, Mr. Plant) Small world story: in Miami in the early sixties, everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood and in our neighborhood, we had the Plant family living on the corner. I'm fairly certain they were descendants of the Plant's from Tampa, at least that's what I'm remembering from my early Florida history.

    I just love all your stories and photos, Angela - you are remarkable! Thanks again, Joanie

  7. Very interesting. It would have been lovely to have tea there.


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