Plant City, located about 25 miles from Tampa, was founded in 1885 and named after Henry B. Plant. Before it became known as Plant City it was known as Itchepackesassa and was a cotton-picking town. Due its favorable climate farmers soon found that they could farm strawberries year-round, and the town was soon known as the winter strawberry capital of the world. Since farmers were able to pick strawberries in the winter, unlike most states, they were soon were able to sell their harvest to other states. National sale was made possible because of the railroads that were being brought to Florida and enhancing life throughout the state.
The man responsible for the railroads was Henry Bradley Plant, railroad tycoon. Mr. Plant had brought the railroads to Florida for his own business ventures, but many different cities on the west coast such as Tampa and Plant City benefited. Mr. Plant never had a direct relationship with Plant City, like he did with Tampa, but the citizens of the city felt such gratitude that they named their small city after Mr. Plant.
Today the city is a thriving part of Hillsborough County and brings in many tourists. Right at the start of spring, the city holds their annual Strawberry Festival, started in 1930. The festival is widely known throughout Central Florida and lasts several days. Numerous events and exhibits can be found at the festival, but what really attracts thousands of people to attend are the concerts that are held throughout the duration of the festival.
The city has other cultural sites to visit such as the Bing Rooming House Museum and the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center. The Bing Rooming House Museum houses a collection of items showing the African American culture during segregation in Plant city. The museum was formerly a hotel used by African Americans before other hotels started to integrate. The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center preserves documents and pictures of the city’s history; they collect, save, and research the items that they have. Due to their massive collection of photos they were able to also open a museum where some of the pictures in their collection can be viewed by the public.