H B Plant Railroad Historical Society
The H. B. Plant Railroad Historical Society began developing their sites in the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center at 605 N. Collins Street in January, 1985. Since that time, the H. B. Plant Railroad Historical Society began developing their sites in the 1914 Plant City High the Club has developed the Carwin A. Baxter Museum, a Library, five model layouts, restored several classrooms, and maintains the Raymond R. Myers museum at the Historical Depot Visitor’s Center. We hold a Swap Meet on the third Saturday in March, an open house during Pioneer Day on the third Saturday in November, and host a number of tours throughout our rooms. The Club also supports a Speakers Bureau for any occasion.
We have five operating layouts; G, O-27, N and two HO. The N-Scale is under construction and an HO-Scale that is in its final levels of detailing and is moving into operation. The HO layout, The Mineral Valley, contains a 30” gauge lumber road and a 36” gauge mining road, and has a 144’ ling doubled tracked standard gauge mainline with 37” minimum radius curves and 1 ½ percent grades. The mainline is point-to-point with the two main yards forming a loop for constant running during shows. A 1900–1910 version of Plant City, Florida is displayed with the correct era buildings, vehicles, and rolling stock. Most of the buildings are scratch built from photographs found in the East Hillsbrough Historical Societies Archives. The HO layout also features a large city (36 feet long with a freight yard, a rural passenger station, a large passenger station, and a truck on flat car yard). The two yards share an engine facility. The O-27 layout contains 60 square feet in a loop/over-and-under configuration. It is primarily designed for operation by young visitors. The G layout is under construction and will consist of a double loop set near the floor behind a rail fence depicting a garden.
Over 1500 items of memorabilia and artifacts have been contributed and are on display in our Carwin A. Baxter Museum. These items remind our visitors that Plant City has had its roots in railroads beginning in 1883. We are proud of the museum and the interest that it brings to the site. The O-27 and G layouts are housed here.
The Library contains over 4800 pieces of reference material including copies of magazines; periodicals, books, manuscripts, and other railroad related materials. The Librarian operates and maintains the Library and acts as our public speaker. Membership is the only requirement for checking out materials. The Club is creating a VHS format video collection that is also available to members.
In December 1997 a Visitor’s Center/Railroad Museum/mini theatre was opened in the restored Historic Plant City Depot (built 1909). The Raymond M. Myers Museum is an interpretative type museum, which primarily depicts railroad history in word and pictures. Here the visitor can learn in detail about Henry Bradley Plant (for whom the City was named in 1885), Florida’s railroads, and other railroad facts. Also for viewing is a replica ticket/telegraph office of the 1900-1950 era and an HO layout depicting Plant City at that time. A historian once said, “What happened yesterday and what happened today really did occur – it only becomes history if it is written down or a picture is taken to make it a record”.