In honor of Comic Con descending upon us this weekend (yay!) we bring you the very first Fan Girl Friday! What the what? We’ve decided to give you a glimpse into our eclectic world and what WE nerd out about. Every Friday we’ll take you on a nerdtastic voyage about a topic, event, or local establishment that we’re obsessing about. Think of it like one of our deep dive history posts but with more photos/info. Like most things at Nerdy Girls this is an experiment, a trial of sorts. Let us know what you think and if you have something you’d like to feature shoot us a message!
Famous for: Being the original port for Tampa/end of Henry B. Plant's railroad line, The Spanish American War point of demarcation, Picnic Island, Victorian Architecture, Robinson High School, & for being SOG (South of Gandy Blvd).
If you’ve been following us for a while you probably have noticed our recent obsession with Port Tampa City. Yes, that’s right… Port Tampa City NOT the Port of Tampa. Trust us, the natives get restless if you make that mistake! This little nook of SOG (the part of South Tampa that’s south of Gandy Blvd) has a long and colorful history that has us hooked.
To understand why Port Tampa even exists you need to realize that Hillsborough Bay (you know Bayshore Blvd?) is naturally a very shallow. Ships of any decent size couldn’t get to the city’s current port without running aground. Side note: That’s why Ballast Point got its name, back in the day big ships would offload their ballast weights at Ballast Point to make them sit up higher in the water so they could get to the Hillsborough River. So, in 1885, when Henry B. Plant brought his train to Tampa the area where Port Tampa City is now, with its naturally deeper waters, was the clear choice for Plant’s new port. To make the area around his port even more desirable Plant built two hotels.
Plant is also responsible for PT and Tampa’s biggest historical claim to fame. Thanks to HB’s bribery... errr connections he got HIS port designated as the port of demarcation for the Spanish American war. Demar…what? The Spanish American war was fought in Cuba, so the US Army had to ship all the stuff (technical word for troops, supplies, etc) from somewhere. That somewhere was Port Tampa City.
Because of this early history, PT has some of the coolest/earliest/most Victorian architecture around town. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites in previous posts. Most recognizable is the old bank which was built around 1926. After much campaigning, it became the area’s public library in 1998. Overall Port Tampa has some of the coolest/oldest surviving history in town. SO... if you haven’t been through it, you probably shouldn’t. Between the architecture and Picnic Island, you won’t be disappointed.
Here are some of the resources we recommend checking out if you want to know more!
- Our posts about the area can be found here, here, here, and here. You knew we were obsessed!
- Ghost Town has an awesome page on some of the history in Port Tampa.
- This is the local civic association's history.
- Port Tampa City – A History of Change, a book put out by the women's club is the BEST resource on Port Tampa City, unfortunately, copies are few and far between. Take a trip to the library to take a look at their reference copy!