Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Pioneer of the Cigar Industry in Florida and Founder of Ybor City
In 1853 at an early age the adventurous Spaniard left his native land and traveled to Cuba which was under the dominance of Spain and where he established his first cigar factory and produced ths world renowned "El Principe De Gales" ("The Prince of Wales") brand.
Due to his support for Cuban independence from Spain in 1868 he had to flee Cuba and move to Key West where he opened another factory and continued to manufacture "El Principle De Gales" brand.
In 1885 at the age of 68 he purchased 90 acres of palmetto and scrub pine flats in the hamlet of Tampa and transformed them in 1886 into the city of his dreams that would bear his name. Other prominent cigar manufacturers joined Ybor and eventually Tampa became known as "The Cigar Capital Of The World."
Upon his death the Tampa Weekly Times wrote on December 17, 1896 the following:
"Don Vicente Martinez-Ybor is dead. One of Tampa's greatest benefactors and this country's most prominent and successful
Erected 2001 by Rafael Martinez-Ybor, great-grandson of Vicente Martinez-Ybor.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Hispanic Americans • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1891.
Location. 27° 57.617′ N, 82° 26.494′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is on East 7th Avenue, on the right when traveling west. The marker and statue are located in the Ybor City Historic District of Tampa. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tampa FL 33605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Molly Ferrara (here, next to this marker); Centro Español de Tampa (a few steps from this marker); Roland M. Manteiga (a few steps from this marker); B.F. Marcos Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of First Ybor City Railroad Station (within shouting distance of this marker); The Birth of Mutual Aid Societies in America (within shouting distance of this marker); Orestes Ferrara (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Birth Of Ybor City (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tampa.
More about this marker. Sculptor - Steven Dickey
Note, while the marker was donated by the City of Tampa, the statue itself was was made possible through contributions from 46 donors.
I was surfing the internet and came across this site.
After I retired from banking in 1996 my one desire was to have a statue made of my great-grandfather in his honor. About a year later with the help of my wife I wrote about 100 letters to former customers and friends requesting donations for the project. I then contacted Steven Dickey the sculptor and got a price. After receiving the initial funds I signed a contract with him to start the project. His price for the statue was $35,000.00.
Prior to beginning the project I made several trips to Coconut Grove in Miami as Steiner & Associates then owners of the Centro Ybor construction to get their approval. I wanted the statue located at the entrance on Seventh Ave and 16th Street. I had plans and drawings made as to what the statue would look like. I have the original picture that used as a guide for the design of the statue.
I met with Mayor Dick Greco to see if they could assist in any way. He said that they would donate the main plaque. I made the wording of the plaque and as a courtesy I had written City of Tampa , Mayor Dick Greco.
The plaque with the donors was donated by the Rotary Club of Ybor City. The pedestal of the statue was donated by J .O Delotto
The unveiling date was set by me. The Master of ceremonies was the Honorable E.J. Salcines, Monsignor Lawrence Higgins the invocation and blessing, and Mayor Dick Greco remarks and a Proclamation presented to me.
Also the date of birth is 1818 not 1819 as mentioned. The mason erred when headstone was made. Oaklawn Cemetery was to be a temporary burial place for VMY as he was to be transferred to Havana, Cuba his siblings did not have it corrected. However later they decided to keep him in Tampa close to the city he had founded “Ybor City.” The correction has never been made as the burial plaque could be destroyed in the process.
— Submitted April 17, 2021, by Rafael Martinez-Ybor of Tampa, Florida.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 10,554 times since then and 556 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2021, by Rafael Martinez-Ybor of Tampa, Florida. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 5, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 6. submitted on September 15, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.