Here’s a postcard from the collection of what is still known as Port Tampa City. All of this developed because of the wealth of Henry B. Plant. He named the area Port Tampa City. The rail lines are also Plants and ran folks from up north to Tampa and other parts of Florida. It’s at Port Tampa City that folks could stay in one of two of Plant’s hotels. The St. Elmo Inn is in the foreground and the Port Tampa Inn is the larger structure. Both buildings are long gone now. There was a trolley that would transport folks from hotels into Tampa itself.

A Swampy’s Florida follower, Carol, was kind enough to add more:

“Port Tampa and Port Tampa City, located to the west of present-day MacDill Air Force Base, were established in the late 1880s, and for a number of years Port Tampa was the natural deepwater port for Tampa.

Then, in the early 1900s the port was dredged at the mouth of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, and most of the port business moved there. (Starting in 1904 the Federal government, in part, funded the dredging of the channels in Tampa and Tampa Bay, opening it up again to be a significant port. Tampa quickly rebounded and boomed. In 1909, the channel up the Hillsborough River was deepened to 12 feet from Tampa Bay to Jean Street Shipyard.)

Today, the port at Port Tampa City is still in operation but on a much smaller scale than that at the bustling Port of Tampa. The two ports are about ten miles apart.”

For the location of Port Tampa City click here:

The postcard is postmarked 1909 and was mailed with a penny stamp to “Miss Mable Seavey, Punta Gorda, Fla”. No actual address needed in Punta Gorda at the time, I guess.