Captain’s Log: Voyages in the Age of Steam


Sep 09 2023 - Dec 23 2023


Henry B. Plant Museum
401 W. Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33606

Captain’s Log: Voyages in the Age of Steam revisits the glamour and spectacle of steamship travel in Gilded Age America and celebrates the central role played by the Plant Line in the creation of multiethnic Tampa.

Come aboard with Captain James Decker as his surviving logbook entries vividly bring to life the S.S. Mascotte’s Caribbean voyages. Beginning in 1886, the Plant System Line carried people, goods, and the U.S. mail between Port Tampa and Key West, Florida; Havana, Cuba; Mobile, Alabama; and the West Indies. Soon, Vincente Martinez Ybor brought the first fifty families of cigar workers to Tampa, propelling what had been a tiny community to the forefront of the industrial New South.

To this day, local families recount tales of their forbears embarking on the Mascotte and the S.S. Olivette to create the factories, neighborhoods, businesses, and social clubs that provided the foundation for community life. Captain’s Log presents photographs, artifacts, original passenger lists, and rare ephemera to reveal why the diverse people of Tampa embraced a fanciful rendering of the S.S. Mascotte as the symbol of the city they built.

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