Gavino Gutierrez
  History Collection

Gavino Gutierrez



..There are several's reasons of that explained how Tampa get involved in the cigar industry, they vary from historian to historian, but in what all agreed is in one major player and his name is Gavino Gutierrez. But sometimes his name is over look at one of the figures to help created the Ciudad Cigar. Was him the one that persuaded Vicente Martinez Ybor and Ignacio Haya to consider moving their cigar making operations to Tampa .

Gavino Gutierrez, a Spanish importer in New York , visited Tampa in 1884 to looking for the guava fruit, for his canning business. Disappointed that there were not many guavas growing in the area, he traveled east and then south to Key West . At the time Key West was a very active and industrial town, and was there that Gutierrez saw olds friends, Vicente Martinez Ybor and Ignacio Haya. While in Key West he heard their tales of woes and their labor problems to manufacture cigars.


That's why they were considering moving their factories to Galveston, Texas. Gutierrez persuaded the two cigar manufacturers to consider Tampa , with a port city newly serving by H.B. Plant South Florida Railways. After months of negotiations with the Tampa Trade members, the two cigar manufacturers decided to buy a tract northeast of the town of Tampa . Gutierrez also held credentials as an architect and civil engineer. Therefore he was “retained as requested of his two friends, to take charge of construction work”. One account reported that he created the layout of the new city, ( Ybor City ) based on the layout of the island of Manhattan , in New York , his home town. Another said he planned and managed the work of laying out the first buildings in Ybor City ; including the location of the Sanchez & Haya Factory and V.M. Ybor Factory location. He also bought 160 acres of land for homes and recreational facilities that he called Spanish Park . He was also active in persuading many cigar manufacturers in New York in relocated to Ybor City .

The prominent newcomer became the first Spanish consul in Tampa. He had two daughters; Aurora and Petronila and a son named Gavino Jr. In 1917 Gutierrez returned to his birth place in Spain, San Vicente de la Barqueras in Santander province. He died there in March 1919.





Gavino Gutierrez - center with cane - and friends in a special outing of the Centro Español



Reference: " Ciudad de Cigars" by Armando Mendez 1996 - Tobacco Journal - June 1898 - "Once Upon a Time in Tampa" - 2014 - "Cigar City Architecture and Legacy... - 2015 - W. Reyes, Ph.D.


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