Ybor City: History Made Fun

Ybor City: History Made Fun

Ybor City: History Made Fun

By Kai Rambow

 

Did you know that: (1) Tampa’s population exploded from 700 to over 7,000 in a year; (2) Tampa was the cigar capital of the world; (3) Tampa was the first place with universal health care? It all started in Ybor City, and you can learn all kinds of things presented in a fun way on a walking tour.

“This is my hometown. It’s so much fun to learn about Tampa’s history,” commented one woman on the tour. A little later, two men debated what was worse in the beginning: the alligators, mosquitos, or heat and humidity. A walking tour, led by Max Herman, was engaging, entertaining and fun.

Vincente Martinez-Ybor transformed Tampa into a real town. Herman has the ability to share history in a fun way. Facts are only important to help the story of Ybor City/Tampa. The stories on tour kept everyone paying attention. While experienced Cubans came here to work, so too did Italians, Germans, and other immigrant groups. Each group built their own social halls (part of the tour) to celebrate and maintain cultural traditions. These social groups also created the first universal health for their members.

 

Background Preparation

A great way to start your tour is a quick visit to the state museum. A short video provides a great overview of Ybor City’s development. Displays in the museum highlight important milestones, complete with historic pictures. This is a great way to get a foundation before taking the tour. Unfortunately, the casita showing original homes in Ybor, is currently unavailable to visitors.

 

The Columbia Restaurant

After the tour, you’ll be hungry. You can continue the history by eating at the 110 year old Columbia restaurant. Cuban bread and the sandwich were invented in Ybor. Their Cuban sandwich is unique because it has salami (remember the Italian immigrants) making a hearty meal. It is the original.  You can order the half-and-half special. You might want to try their famous 1905 salad (created in the 1970s) and Cuban sandwich. Incidentally, the Cuban bread comes from La Segunda Bakery, also in Ybor, and 100 years old.

 Tips: You might want to drive from the garage (see itinerary and parking below) to here as it is a few blocks away.  There is plenty of parking in the back. Be sure to look at the beautiful Spanish tiles on the front of the building. 

 

Cuban Cigars Still Made Here

Tabanero Cigars loves having visitors, even if you don’t smoke. I am not a smoker, but I do know which end of the cigar to dip in brandy. Since Tabanero is a boutique cigar store you can see everything up close, and you are welcome to take pictures.  There is a coffee bar towards the back with great Cuban coffee. 

 

Tips for a Great Trip

Suggested Itinerary:  Arrive at 9 and visit the state museum park. Move car to parking garage around 10:30 a.m. Stop by Tabanero Cigars take some pictures and have a Cuban coffee. Walk across the street and take the historic walking tour with Max (be sure to make reservations) at 11 a.m. After tour head to the Columbia for lunch.

What to Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen ,and sunglasses are important. Be sure to take a bottle of water with you as well. Note: Herman knows all the shady spots to stop while on tour. 

Where to Park: Street parking is only good for two hours. If you park in the garage on 15th Street, you won’t need to worry about time and it’s only one dollar per hour. From the garage it is a short walk to the meeting spot for the tour.

Ybor City Historic Walking Tours

Max Herman

(813) 505-6779

www.YborWalkingTours.com

Ybor City State Museum

1818 E 9th Avenue

Wednesdays-Sundays; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Columbia Restaurant

2117 E. 7th Avenue

Tampa, Florida  33605

(813)  248-4961

www.columbiarestaurant.com

Tabanero Cigars

(Cuban coffee)

1601 E. 7th Avenue

Tampa, Florida  33605

(813) 402-6316

JULY 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

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By Cathy Meyerhoff, SCC History Society

Though May 10, 1961 may not ring any bells with most local residents, it is important.  On that day ground was broken for the retirement community of Sun City Center. Nothing is recorded about this event other than the date. There is no record that Del Webb, whose plan it was to develop the town, was present. Even the location of the turning over of the first shovel of sandy soil is lost in the mists of time.

Information is known about the events leading up to this date. Twelve thousand acres of scrub, swamp, and pasture in southwestern Hillsborough County were the home of 2,500 cattle before Del Webb purchased the land in 1961 to be developed into a third Sun City community for retirees, following successful developments in Arizona and California.  

When the symbolic groundbreaking took place, orders were already issued to have streets, a shopping center, post office, recreation center, motel, restaurant and model homes in place before a grand opening scheduled for January 1, 1962.  Eight months later, that plan became reality and today we reap the benefits of that May groundbreaking 60 years ago.

IN THE PHOTO: Circa 1964 – This is a photo of the groundbreaking of the Emergency Squad Building showing Del Webb, second from the right, holding a spade. Unfortunately, the History Society has no photos of the groundbreaking of Sun City Center.

JULY 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

JULY 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendars for the SCC 4th of July Fun Day, read about an Important Update from the SCCCA Board, learn What’s New at the SCC library, cookout with the Multi-Cultural Heritage Club, Get Off The Couch with the...

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In this issue…

We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about South Bay Hospital’s new visitor policy, catch up with the Elegant Garden Club, meet a new and interesting neighbor, and blow out candles with a local centenarian. Then, we take a guided tour of native Florida right here in SCC, see some award-winning photos, and learn about the SCC Community Association’s new construction plans…

And be sure to check out the Club, Community, South County, and Military sections to help you plan your month.

Read the October 2020 Issue of The News

Florida is in Phase 3. Get the latest updates.

Hillsborough County has a new testing reservation line. Call 888.513.6321 to make an appointment for a test at any of the seven county testing locations, including three in South County:

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 701 Valley Forge Blvd., Sun City Center

Wimauma Opportunity Center, 5128 SR-674

SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin

Suncoast Community Health Centers, 313 S. Lakewood Drive, Brandon

Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St., Tampa

Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave., Plant City

Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa

Reservation call center hours are weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals arriving without an appointment will not be tested. You must have your confirmation code, as well as a photo ID with the name and date of birth of all persons being tested, when you go for the test.

For further testing information, visit “www.hillsboroughcounty.org” and search “getting-tested”. In the results, scroll down to “Testing & If You’re Sick”.

JULY 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

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In this issue… Mark your calendars for the SCC 4th of July Fun Day, read about an Important Update from the SCCCA Board, learn What’s New at the SCC library, cookout with the Multi-Cultural Heritage Club, Get Off The Couch with the...

“Thanks, Dad”

“Thanks, Dad”

“Thanks, Dad” By E. Adam Porter Editor, News of SCC & South County There’s a picture on canvas, hanging over the stairwell to my bedroom. When I see it, I think, man, I look tired. And then I smile. Not because I look soggy, bedraggled, and...

A Groundbreaking Event

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A Groundbreaking EventBy Cathy Meyerhoff, SCC History Society Though May 10, 1961 may not ring any bells with most local residents, it is important.  On that day ground was broken for the retirement community of Sun City Center. Nothing is recorded about...

SCC Celebrates Earth Day

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The Sun City Center Audubon Society celebrated the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 at the SCC Community Association’s West Campus Nature Trails. The weather cooperated beautifully with clear skies, a light breeze, low humidity and temperatures in...

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For the Birds?Story by Ilona Merritt, Photography by Kai RambowSome information courtesy SCC History Society  When the greens of the North Courses were re-sodded in 1987-8, the chemicals used to fumigate the soil had been covered with plastic,...

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Inspiring Our Future Leaders By Thomas D Hart, MOWW Sun City Center Chapter A  group of excited and curious students showed up at the Plaza Club in Sun City Center to attend a Youth Leadership Seminar.  Eight different high schools in Hillsborough...