In 1959 a group of friends, with a strong interest in the preservation of the former Tampa Bay Hotel, met to chisel old mortar from imported tiles salvaged from the original fireplaces in the hotel. As a result of this activity, the “Chiselers” organization was founded with a mission to preserve and restore the former hotel, now The University of Tampa’s H.B. Plant Hall and a National Historic Landmark.
- Since its founding The Chiselers, Inc. has raised $7.6 million for the restoration of Plant Hall. Funding is acquired through an annual market, galas, community generosity, and sizeable grants.
- The Chiselers’ largest fundraising events are the annual Market, Tampa’s largest one day thrift sale, and the Preview Party held the previous evening.
- The third largest event of the Chiselers is the bi-annual Fashion Show co-sponsored by the Henry B. Plant Museum and Neiman Marcus.
- In addition to raising funds for restoration the Chiselers support The University of Tampa with an endowed scholarship which provides annual financial assistance to a deserving student.
- The Chiselers’ 325 members contribute approximately 15,000 volunteer hours annually, an equivalent of $353,400. (Independent Sector, 2015, FL, $23.56 value of a volunteer hour.)
- In 1996 the Chiselers co-founded the Tampa Bay Hotel Advisory Council to include representatives from the City of Tampa, The University of Tampa, Henry B. Plant Museum, The Chiselers, Inc., and the preservation community. The council was charged with approving a Master Plan for restoration and preservation of the building and assuring that all work is done in accordance with the Master Plan and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.