Immigrant Life in Ybor City

Tour curated by: Isabella Perello, Alex Sommers, Andrea Christou, Justin Soriano, and the Tampa Historical Team

It is impossible to tell the story of Ybor City without reference to the immigrant populations that made this community what it was. This tour explores sites of immigrant culture and community in Ybor City. It was created by USF history students in Dr. K. Stephen Prince's Spring 2019 seminar, "Tampa History as U.S. History."

Locations for Tour

Tampa’s rich Italian community has a long heritage and tradition. Italy retains its place in the hearts and minds of generations of people who left Europe to chase and attain the American dream in Tampa. For more than 100 years, the Italian Club…

There is a treasure hidden across from Ybor City’s Centennial Park. It is not a pot of gold, but a house. At first sight, it seems like an ordinary shotgun house, but there is more to it than meets the eye. La Casita, or small house, is a…

El Centro Asturiano has been part of the Tampa community for over 100 years and is one of the original mutual aid societies of Ybor City. Founded in 1902, the club catered to Spanish immigrants who came to Ybor City in search for a better life. The…

Paulina Pedroso and her husband Ruperto owned a boarding house in Ybor City. They were Afro-Cubans (Cubans with a dark skin tone) who moved to Ybor City in 1892 to work in the cigar factories. They were friends with Jose Martí, who was known as the…

Escaping religious persecution in Romania, Jewish merchants settled in Ybor City and opened dry goods stores in the late 1800’s. Described by historians as the “Princes of Seventh Avenue,” these merchants became successful by selling dry goods…

As the Cuban War of Independence ensued in 1895, the atmosphere in Ybor City rang with shouts of “Cuba Libre” and hope for a different future. Black and white Cubans abandoned their preconceptions about race and became united under the national…