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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Central Avenue

 
 
Central Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
1. Central Avenue Marker
Inscription.
From the late 19th century until the mid 1970s, Central Avenue was the principal business and entertainment district of Tampa's African American community. In 1974, Urban Redevelopment razed all but a few of the buildings and converted the area into a park. Before it was destroyed, this section contained schools, churches, lodges, a library, physicians, lawyers, dentists, grocery stores, barbershops, drug stores, insurance companies, newspapers, restaurants, a hotel, movie theaters and more than a score of bars and nightclubs, some featuring major headliners of the black entertainment circuit. Celebrities, such as Ray Charles, James Brown, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Nate and Cannonball Adderly, all played on Central when they were just getting started.

On Saturday afternoons and evenings the sidewalks and store-fronts of Central were jammed with people strolling, shopping, socializing, taking in the sights and sounds. During segregation, when African Americans were not welcome in most commercial and recreational establishments in Tampa, Central Avenue provided a necessary alternative. The African American businesses that grew to fill this need offered economic opportunities for proprietors, alternative employment for workers, and needed goods and services for consumers, within a friendly and familiar atmosphere.
 
Erected
Central Avenue Marker restored to original location image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, April 19, 2016
2. Central Avenue Marker restored to original location
1996 by the Tampa Historical Society.
 
Location. 27° 57.254′ N, 82° 27.337′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is at the intersection of North Orange Avenue and East Harrison Street, on the right when traveling north on North Orange Avenue. Click for map. Located on the grounds of Perry Harvey, Sr. Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 N Orange Ave, Tampa FL 33602, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Perry Harvey, Sr., Park Skateboard Bowl (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Brooke Mass Grave (about 500 feet away); Tampa Native Americans (about 500 feet away); U.S.S. Sagamore (about 500 feet away); Confederate States Soldiers and Sailors (about 600 feet away); 29 Sea Captains and Mariners (about 600 feet away); Victims of the Yellow Fever (about 600 feet away); Kennedy (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Tampa.
 
More about this marker. The marker was temporarily removed while this area was undergoing redevelopment. With the completion of the park this marker has been re-erected at the original location.
 
Also see . . .  Inside the Watts Sanderson's Central Terrace Beer Garden (1942).
Central Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
3. Central Avenue Marker
In a shaded area of the park
University of South Florida Library (Submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.) 
 
Categories. 20th CenturyAfrican AmericansEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
Perry Harvey, Sr. Park image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
4. Perry Harvey, Sr. Park
Central Avenue Marker is just left of center.
Central Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
5. Central Avenue Marker
Looking across North Orange Avenue
Historic Central Avenue Mural image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
6. Historic Central Avenue Mural
Sponsored by the City of Tampa Public Art Program, the mural is just across North Orange Avenue from the marker. It identifies the following civic leaders from the era:
Moses White: proprietor of a popular bar-b-que restaurant which opened on Central Avenue in 1932 (today run by his grandson on 7th Avenue in Ybor: Moses White & Sons Bar-B-Que)
Mr. & Mrs. Joyner: proprietors of a popular Central Avenue nightclub and entertainment venue, The Cotton Club
Perry Harvey, Sr.: was instrumental in organizing the local Longshoremen's Union (now headquartered across from the park)
C. Blythe Andrews, Sr.: publisher of Tampa's newspaper for the African American community, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin (which itself has a historical marker nearby and remains family-run today)
Watts Sanderson, Sr.: proprietor of the Central Terrace Beer Garden, a popular pub and social spot
Perry Harvey, Sr. Park dedication plaque image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
7. Perry Harvey, Sr. Park dedication plaque
City  of  Tampa  Florida
William F. Poe                                   Mayor
Lloyd Copeland - Chairman      City Council
Charles Miranda - Vice Chairman
Catharine Barja
Lee Duncan
Sandra Warshaw Freedman
Jan Platt
Charles Spicola, Jr.

Perry Harvey, Sr., Park  1979

Angle & Schmid, Inc.                             Contractor
The IPDS, Ltd. Planning/Design Group    Architect
Perry Harvey, Sr. Park image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 2, 2010
8. Perry Harvey, Sr. Park
Once the home of the Central Avenue business district, the Perry Harvey, Sr. Park includes basketball courts, a playground, skate park, and other facilities.
The Jackson Rooming House image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, May 8, 2010
9. The Jackson Rooming House
At 851 Zack Street, approximately 2000 feet or 0.61 km from the Central Avenue marker is the Jackson Rooming House, one of the last remaining buildings from the heyday of the Central Avenue business district. Named for the couple who built and operated the house, it was for decades during segregation one of very few, if not the only place in the city where non-white travelers could find lodging. This included the entertainers headlining Central Avenue's nightclubs. The Jackson House hosted the likes of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles. Though no longer in business today, the 1901 building is still owned by a Jackson family descendant. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 (#07000112).
Former site of Central Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, July 17, 2011
10. Former site of Central Avenue Marker
This area is being redeveloped.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 2,174 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   2. submitted on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   10. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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