Ybor City was founded in 1886 by cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor. He transformed the once sandy palmetto patched region into a booming cigar town with affordable housing for the workers.
The city soon became populated with thousands of immigrants, mainly from Spain, Italy and Cuba with a cable car system that still runs through the city today.
The palmettos in Ybor were long gone, buried under a thriving town and a cigar producing mecca known for its clear Havana Cigars.
However, since then, cigar production in Ybor slowed down considerably due to a higher taxes, strikes and higher production costs to name just a few.
Hav-A-Tampa (1902 – 2009), a once local-producing cigar factory, moved production offshore in 2009 to Puerto Rico mainly due to the higher taxes placed on cigars. The closing of the factory displaced around 500 workers at the time.
The V.M Cigar Factory, owned by Vicente Martinez Ybor, was the first cigar factory built in Ybor City and still stands at the intersection of 14th St. and 9th Ave. The building continues to function as office space and has been rightfully designated as a historic building.
You can learn a great deal more about the cigar era and Ybor’s local history at the Ybor City Museum located in the historic Ferlita Bakery on 9th Avenue.
Ybor City Museum State Park (9am to 5pm)
1818 Ninth Avenue, Tampa, FL 33601
www.ybormuseum.org | Google Map