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West Tampa
—  District  —
West Tampa is located in Florida
West Tampa
Location within the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°57′11″N 82°29′22″W / 27.95306°N 82.48944°W / 27.95306; -82.48944Coordinates: 27°57′11″N 82°29′22″W / 27.95306°N 82.48944°W / 27.95306; -82.48944
Country United States
State Florida
County Hillsborough
City Tampa
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes
FIPS code
GNIS feature ID

West Tampa is one of the oldest districts within the city limits of Tampa, USA and a former incorporated city, located just west of downtown Tampa. As of the 2000 census, the district had a population of 22,008. West Tampa has one of the highest concentration of latinos in the city since its founding in the early 1890s.



West Tampa was founded in 1892 by Scottish immigrant and successful attorney Hugh MacFarlane. He founded the town with the intention of luring some of the cigar factories and cigar workers of Ybor City a few miles west to his new community.

Initially, West Tampa's growth was stunted by transportation problems. The first cigar factory built in the area was forced to closed because workers refused to ride a ferry across the Hillsborough River to the "wilds" of West Tampa [1].

But after MacFarlane built a bridge and then a streetcar line, his development experienced a period of tremendous growth. Many of these new residents had not come over from Ybor City; many were immigrants settling directly in West Tampa upon arriving in the U.S. These newcomers were primarily Cuban at first, but a gradual influx of Italians and Spaniards made the cultural mix of West Tampa similar to that of Ybor City over time.

The partially restored Centro Espanol building on Howard Ave., West Tampa.

West Tampa was incorporated as a city in 1895 with a population of 2,335, making it the 2nd largest Hispanic community in the state. By 1900, it had more inhabitants than Florida's capital city of Tallahassee and was the second largest city in Hillsborough County, behind only Tampa. The neighboring cities were also two of the top cigar-making locales in the world during the early 20th century.

As the years progressed, the boundaries between West Tampa and Ybor City began to blur. Many "Latin" residents had family in both communities, and many worked in one neighborhood while living in the other. A few of Ybor City's social clubs built West Tampa branches, further uniting the areas.

In 1925, West Tampa was annexed by the city of Tampa and became a city neighborhood. As Ybor City faded and emptied out after World War II, many of its residents moved to West Tampa, making it the largest predominantly Latin neighborhood in town. While the same factors that destroyed Ybor City's cigar industry also affected West Tampa, the latter community had enough economic variety to survive when the cigar factories shut down.

Today, the neighborhood has many small Cuban eateries and ethnic markets, mostly along main roads such as N. Amrnia Avenue, N. Howard Avenue, Main Street, Columbus Drive and Tampa Bay Boulevard. Some cigar manufacturers continue to operate shops in the area. [1] Also the area has become the subject of renewed interest because of its history and culture.[2][3]


The historical boundaries of West Tampa are the Hillsborough River and Rome Avenue to the east, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (formerly Buffalo Ave.) to the north, Kennedy Blvd. (formerly Grand Central Ave.) to the south, and Dale Mabry Highway to the west. The West Tampa Historic District encompases much of this area[2], and Interstate 275, built in the 1960s, runs through the approximate center of the neighborhood. The land area of the district is about 10 square miles (about 26 km2).


As of the census[3] of 2000, there are 22,008 people, 9,277 households, and 9,908 housing units residing in West Tampa. The racial makeup of the district is 73.7% White, 11.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.5% Asian and Pacific Islander, 8.4% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. 51.6% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In West Tampa, the population is spread out with 6% Under 5 Years; 5.5% 5 to 9 Years; 10.8% 10 to 19 Years; 32.0% 20 to 39 Years; 22.7% 40 to 59 Years; 17.2% 60 to 79 Years; 3.3% 80 Years and Over. Out of every 100 females residing in the district, there are 93 males.

Areas within West Tampa

Distinct areas within the West Tampa district are Bowman Heights, Marina Club, Northeast Macfarlane, and Old West Tampa.[4]


External links



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