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Written by James Payne

Monday, 16 November 2009

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leisure and relaxationprofiles
ybor city


When we talk about cigars, the name Cuba gets bandied about. In much the same way that if someone says “horror” you think of Stephen King, when the word “cigar” is mentioned, for most of us it brings to mind Cuba. But Cuba was not always king of the cigar world. For those of us that live in sunny Florida, there is another name that rises up from the past like a phoenix from the proverbial ashes: Ybor City.

 

For those of you that do not know (and even those that do), Ybor City is a neighborhood district in the bustling metropolis of Tampa City, Florida. In its heyday it was the cigar capital of the world. Today it is still known for its cigars, its rich history, and its seedy bars. In this article I will take you back in time through some of that history in an effort to show you what once was and what may never be again. So come, take a walk with me down the streets of Ybor City.

 

Humble Beginnings

 

If you have ever been to Tampa or even driven past it, you may well remember it for its towering skyscrapers, its busy streets, beautiful beaches, and if you are a kid like me, Busch Gardens. With a population of around 350,000 people it has become an important part of Florida’s continuing growth and economic importance. It did not always enjoy such a fruitful life however.

 

Tampa was founded in 1823, two years after the United States purchased Florida from the Spanish in the Adams-Onis Treaty. The United States hoped that purchasing the land would end the frequent raids from Indians, and put a stop to slave settlements that were beginning to pop-up in the territory.

 

To aid in this effort, the government set up a reservation, and along with it, several forts and trading posts. The expansion into the territory moved slowly, and in truth nearly ended, thanks to a war with the Seminole Indians in the region and a devastating hurricane. But perseverance won the day, and by 1849 the Village of Tampa incorporated itself.

 

I could go on and on here about the start and stop expansion of Tampa (and Florida itself). Suffice it to say, the Civil War happened (growth stopped), yellow fever broke out (growth stopped some more), Phosphate was discovered (growth started), and with that discovery came the railroad system to cart the phosphate away. And from that way came a traveler by the name of Vicente Martinez Ybor, the great grand-daddy of the aptly named Ybor City.

 






Comments 

 
0 # That's why they call us Cigar City ;)CheapHumidors 2009-11-17 03:31
I live in Tampa, not 10 minutes from Ybor. Great place for history, cigars, and culture during the day. A little seedy but good for cheap clubs and drinks at night. Absolutely beautiful architecture and cigar culture.

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