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

Centro Español de West Tampa

 
 
Centro Español de West Tampa Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
1. Centro Español de West Tampa Marker
Inscription.  
Centro Español de West Tampa
has been placed on the
National Register
of Historic Places
by the United States
Department of the Interior
1974

 
Erected 1974. (Marker Number 74000632.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Hispanic AmericansIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1974.
 
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); West Tampa Free Public Library
Centro Español de West Tampa Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
2. Centro Español de West Tampa Marker
The plaque is mounted to the right of the doors.
Click or scan to see
this page online
(approx. 0.3 miles away); The Andres Diaz Building (approx. half a mile away); West Tampa Centennial (approx. 0.6 miles away); Hugh C. Macfarlane (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
El Centro Español de West Tampa image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
3. El Centro Español de West Tampa
of the original Centro Español, which was based in Ybor. Most of the other mutual aid societies were based in Ybor, however, two others besides El Centro Español were established in West Tampa. They were the Sociedad Cespedes, for immigrants from Cuba, and La Sicilia, or the Sicilian Club.

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.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
El Centro Español de West Tampa image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 16, 2011
4. El Centro Español de West Tampa
The plaque is located near the entrance on the building's north side.
El Centro Español de West Tampa image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
5. El Centro Español de West Tampa
Rear of building
Mural featuring El Centro Español de West Tampa image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
6. Mural featuring El Centro Español de West Tampa
Across Howard Avenue in Rey Park, this mural depicts the building in its heyday.
West Tampa Convention Center image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
7. West Tampa Convention Center
The present home of the Centro Español organization
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 22, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 609 times since then and 17 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.

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Oct. 15, 2021