Up in Smoke: The Cigar Industry in Tampa

Tour curated by: Tami Davis, Lawrence R. Paine, Sebastian Leon, Tyler Santana, and the Tampa Historical Team

Tampa is known as the "Cigar City." Without the cigar industry, the modern history of the city would have looked entirely different. This tour explores the history of the cigar industry in Ybor City and West Tampa. 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

The statue of Ybor shows the man himself, dressed in a three-piece suit with an umbrella and his hat. The surrounding area is much more of a tourist area than anything now, with fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and bars providing the…

The jewel of Ybor City and Vicente Martinez Ybor’s passion project, the Ybor Cigar Factory was a massive 3-story structure. The factory was believed to be the largest in the world at the time and was renowned for its beauty. On its front entrance…

Ignacio Haya’s entrepreneurship in the cigar business made him a true pioneer, not only for the tobacco industry in the United States, but as a leader in real estate, enterprise, and a large contributor to the city and region of Tampa. Born in…

Though Ybor City does not bear their names, Ignacio Haya and Serafin Sanchez were every bit as significant to the development of the city as Vincente Martinez Ybor himself. Without the investment of these two lifelong friends, the entire history of…

Regarded as “a wonderland of beauty” in a Tampa Tribune headline, Macfarlane Park has served the West Tampa community since opening day on April 25, 1909. Macfarlane Park was envisioned as a woodland resort for all of West Tampa and the…

The Regensburg Factor, aslo known as “El Reloj” (the Clock), sits on the outskirts of Ybor city. The factory was one of many when it was built in 1910. The Regensburg Cigar Company chose a site outside of the city center for their new modern…

According to local legend, it was on this site in 1895 that a secret message with orders to begin the Cuban uprising against Spain was hidden in a cigar rolled by Blas O’Halloran. This cigar was allegedly smuggled into Cuba, starting a war that…