Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Centro Español de West Tampa
has been placed on the
of Historic Places
by the United States
Department of the Interior
Erected 1974. (Marker Number 74000632.)
Location. 27° 57.715′ N, 82° 28.989′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker can be reached from North Howard Avenue north of West Cherry Street, on the left when traveling north. The plaque is located next to the building's north side entrance. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2306 North Howard Avenue, Tampa FL 33607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Academy of The Holy Names (approx. ¼ mile away); Morgan Cigar Factory (approx. ¼ mile away); The Beginning of the Cigar Industry in West Tampa (approx. 0.3 miles away); The West Tampa Boys Club (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Andres Diaz Building (approx. half a mile away); West Tampa Centennial Hugh C. Macfarlane (was approx. ¾ mile away but has been reported missing. ); George Guida (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tampa.
More about this marker. In addition to its listing individually with the National Register of Historic Places, El Centro Español de West Tampa is a Contributing Structure within the West Tampa Historic District (a National Historic District).
Regarding Centro Español de West Tampa. El Centro Español was founded in 1891 as a social club and mutual aid society for Spanish immigrants to nearby Ybor City. In 1912, the club expanded, building El Centro Español de West Tampa as a club house for its members who lived in West Tampa. The organization provided social, recreational, education, and medical services to its members, most of whom were employed as workers in the area's mammoth cigar industry. The Centro building served as a social hub, hosting everything from dances, to English language classes, to a gym. The Royal Theatre, housed within a large section of the building, was used to stage live performances, speeches, and concerts.
El Centro Español was the earliest of the many mutual aid societies and social clubs which were vital in making it possible for the huge immigrant populations of Ybor and West Tampa to adjust and acclimate to live in their new country. El Centro Español de West Tampa was a satellite of the original Centro Español, which was based
West Tampa's El Centro building was designed by Fred J. James in Mediterranean Revival style, with Moorish influences and detailing. At one time, it featured wrought-iron balconies outside its second-floor windows.
The Centro Español organization continued use of the building until the late 1980's, at which time the remaining membership moved to a smaller facility. The West Tampa El Centro building was eventually purchased and renovated by the City of Tampa and in 2008 became home of the Tampa Museum of Art. The museum was housed there for about a two-year period while a new museum facility was being constructed downtown. Currently, the building is home to the Hillsborough Education Foundation.
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 537 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 22, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.