Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Benjamin Field/George N. Benjamin b 1859 d 1926
In 1896, this land was gifted to the City of West Tampa as a public park by George N. Benjamin, a prominent entrepreneur & early West Tampa leader. The park was built & 2 year later it was used by Theodore Roosevelt & the Rough Riders as a camp during the Spanish-American War.
In 1911, the property was developed as an airfield & small planes took customers on sight seeing rides. One of the 1st night flights in aviation history occurred here. In 1921, the City of Tampa leased the land to the Armory Board for use as a National Guard Drill Facility. During the 1920s, a large wooden boxing arena was constructed & matches were held for several years. In 1941, the wooden oval was replaced by a large concrete facility & named Fort Homer Hesterly for the commanding officer of the 116th Field Artillery. For 5 decades, the Armory served as a central community venue hosting dances, concerts, wrestling matches, & political events.
In 1961, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke here. Pres. John F. Kennedy spoke here 4 days before his assassination. For over three decades, legendary acts such as
b 1859 d 1929
Erected by The Benjamin Family.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • War, World II. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt series list.
Location. 27° 56.913′ N, 82° 28.983′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is at the intersection of North Howard Avenue and West Gray Street, on the left when traveling north on North Howard Avenue. Located on the grounds of the former Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 522 North Howard Avenue, Tampa FL 33606, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rough Rider Encampment (approx. 0.2 miles away); West Tampa Free Public Library (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Beginning of the Cigar Industry in West Tampa (approx. 0.6 miles away); The West Tampa Boys Club (approx. 0.7 miles away); Academy of The Holy Names (approx. ¾ mile away); Dobyville (approx. 0.8 miles away); William Benton Henderson (approx. 0.9 miles away); Plant Field (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tampa.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 30, 2019, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 62 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 30, 2019, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.