Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
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)
 

West Tampa Centennial

1895 ~ 1995

 
 
West Tampa Centennial Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
1. West Tampa Centennial Marker
Inscription. Hugh C. MacFarlane, an immigrant from Scotland, purchased land in November 1886 and built a cigar factory that started production on June 15, 1892. MacFarlane and other developers offered free land and buildings, bringing in more cigar factories and growth that led to the formation of the City of West Tampa on May 18, 1895. Other immigrants from Cuba, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and different parts of the United States made up the population, giving the town its distinctive, vibrant character. After 30 years as a prospering municipality West Tampa was annexed to the City of Tampa on January 1, 1925
 
Erected 1995 by the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Historical Society.
 
Location. 27° 58.011′ N, 82° 29.514′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is on West Columbus Drive east of North MacDill Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. The marker is located in front of the West Tampa Convention Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3005 West Columbus Drive, Tampa FL 33607, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Andres Diaz Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Morgan Cigar Factory (approx.
West Tampa Centennial Marker Base Plate image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
2. West Tampa Centennial Marker Base Plate
As noted, the inscription is barely visible.
0.6 miles away); Hugh C. Macfarlane (was approx. 0.6 miles away but has been reported missing. ); George Guida (approx. 0.6 miles away); Centro Español de West Tampa (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Beginning of the Cigar Industry in West Tampa (approx. 0.8 miles away); Academy of The Holy Names (approx. 0.9 miles away); The West Tampa Boys Club (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tampa.
 
More about this marker. The marker is planted on a pole which is anchored by a small, square area paved with terra-cotta brick. Upon the brick area sits a small metal plate which bears an inscription related to the marker. The plate has weathered, leaving the inscription difficult if not impossible to accurately decipher in its entirety. Following is a rough transcription:

Bricks on this Historical Marker
base were salvaged from the
Cuesta-Rey Cigar Factory on
the corner of Howard Avenue
and Beech Street.

The factory was built in 1896 and
demolished July 1989.

Arsenio M. Sanchez

Historians
West Tampa Centennial Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
3. West Tampa Centennial Marker
In front of the West Tampa Convention Center
Arsenio Sanchez and Armando Mendez helped to unveil the marker at its presentation ceremony. The marker is capped with the seal of the former city of West Tampa.
 
Regarding West Tampa Centennial. The development of West Tampa was initially slow to take off. The boom period only began after Hugh MacFarlane and his associates invested in a new steel bridge over the Hillsborough River from Tampa and established a streetcar line.

Once it did get rolling, the City of West Tampa was, indeed, a boom town. As of its incorporation in 1895, it had the second highest Hispanic population of any Florida community. Five years later, it had a larger overall population than the state capital, Tallahassee. And by its tenth year, West Tampa had become not only the second-largest city in Hillsborough County, but the fifth-largest city in Florida. West Tampa also boasted the first public library in Hillsborough County, which was built by Andrew Carnegie in 1913, and is still used today.

After more decades passed, the two neighboring cities grew closer together in the senses of both physical development and community identity. It was not uncommon for West Tampa residents to commute to jobs in Tampa or have family there, while the reverse was true for many residents of Tampa. In 1925, West Tampa ceased to be its own city and officially became
The West Tampa Convention Center and West Tampa Centennial Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
4. The West Tampa Convention Center and West Tampa Centennial Marker
part of the City of Tampa. The area of West Tampa remains a vital part of the city today, and includes the individual neighborhoods of Bowman Heights, Marina Club, MacFarlane Park, and Old West Tampa.

In 1983, the National Register of Historic Places recognized West Tampa's importance to the area's early industrial, cultural, and social development, along with its rich legacy of old cigar factories and other period buildings. This was made official with the creation of the 2730-acre West Tampa Historic District, which features 908 significant Contributing Structures (# 83003539).
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Mural of Cuesta Rey & Co. Cigar Factory image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
5. Mural of Cuesta Rey & Co. Cigar Factory
A mural in nearby Rey Park depicts the Cuesta Rey & Co. cigar factory, which was built in 1896 by Spanish immigrants Angel Cuesta and Peregrino Rey (for whom the park was named). At its peak, the company operated factories in West Tampa and in Ybor City, and was named official Purveyor to the Court of Spain by King Alfonzo XIII. The company was later bought out. Their West Tampa factory was destroyed by fire in 1989, but bricks from the structure were salvaged and used to form the historical marker's base.
An old West Tampa factory image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 5, 2011
6. An old West Tampa factory
The former Samuel Davis Cigar Factory is one of many such buildings that was erected during the heyday of the City of West Tampa. The factory is a Contributing Structure within the West Tampa Historic District.
Seal of the City of West Tampa image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, September 9, 2011
7. Seal of the City of West Tampa
The former city's once-official seal is featured atop many of the neighborhood's historical markers.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 19, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 25, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 664 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 25, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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