Ignacio Haya, Pioneer Cigar Entrepreneur
  History Collection


...In the past decade, investment of foreign capital in the United States has received much publicity, but most Americans are not aware of the role which foreign investors have played in the economic development of our nation. In Florida, both Cuban and Spanish capital were instrumental in making Florida's cigar industry State's leading business enterprise by 1900. One of those leading entrepreneurs, a Spaniard, was Ignacio Haya.



_Born in Escalante, Santander, Spain, December 8, 1842, Ignacio Haya was the son of landed aristocracy, who rented vast amounts of their estancia to tenant farmers. Ignacio was educated in Spain, and at the age of 18, he and his brother, Ramon, left their home land to begin a new life in the United States. They arrived in New York where a few months later Ignacio established a cigar factory with another Spanish immigrant, Serafin Sanchez. While Ramon moved between Cuba and Spain, Ignacio remained in the United States, forming the Sanchez and Haya Cigar factory in 1867. Ramon later returned to Spain to oversee the family estate. (During the Spanish American War, Ramon served in the Spanish Army in Dubai while Ignacio supported the American cause).

_The factory was one of the first one of the first in the nation to make cigars from the light colored Cuban tobacco called "Clear Havana" in the United States. By bringing raw tobacco from their own tobacco fields they purchased in Cuba, the firm did not have to pay duty on finished cigars. It produced Cuban cigars in the United States free of import duties. The firm flourished since there was a continual demand for high quality Cuban cigars. The firm marketed through advertisement in the form of cigar labels, cigar box art. The leading label portrayed was a popular theater actress, Miss Fannie Davenport. It remained the most popular label throughout the successful career of the company.

_During the 1870's cigar worker's salaries remained low because of the overabundance of labor. High production, with little concern for working conditions led to the formation of unions and a succession of devastating strikes. Manufacturers in Key West and Haya in New York, began to look to other parts of the nation where they cloud move their business, free from unions, labor unrest, and congested cities.

_Mean time in 1872, Mr. Haya married Ms. Fannie Milledoler of New York. She was related to the prestigious William Steele family of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the marriage brought considerable family wealth to his new family and business. The couple resided on Calffon Avenue, near Fulton Avenue in Brooklyn. They had one child which died at birth. The bereaved couple returned to Spain and there adopted two year old Marina, a daughter of ignacio's brother Ramon. Marina returned with her new parents to New York, and from then was known only as the daughter of the family, never the daughter of Ramon.

Haya's business in Tampa...

_New manufacturing problems were a frequent topic of discussion with Ignacio Haya, and a fellow Key West manufacturer, Vicente Martinez Ybor. Haya frequently visited Ybor in Key West during the winters. During one visit, the manufacturers were joined by New York friends Bernardino Gargol and Gavino Gutierrez, who had just arrived from Tampa. After telling the industrialist about Tampa's economic potential, the four gentlemen made a quick visit to Tampa to see for themselves.

Haya was so impress that he later sent his partner Serafin Sanchez, to meet with the Tampa Board of Trade to discuss the possibility of relocated their industry there. Was on July 15, 1885, when Sanchez arrived, to meet with the Board. The "Tampa Morning Tribune" in the editorial section stated, "The benefits that would enure to Tampa from the establishment of such an industry cannot be too deeply impressed on our citizens".

In October of 1885, Ybor purchased the first land, 40 acres approximately two miles northeast of Tampa town. Haya allowed Ybor to take the first step in the real estate, once he was convinced of its success, he purchased land too, forming the Sanchez & Haya Real Estate Company. Haya then constructed a two story wooden factory at the corner of 7th Avenue and 15th Street. Haya also bought 10 acres adjacent to Ybor's property, for his factory building and housing for the workers. Was then that a friendly race was on to see who would make the first cigar.

After Ybor City was founded, the Haya's moved to Florida, first living in Ybor City, and later to now Hyde Park area. He later purchased a commodious house, located at 605 Magnolia Avenue, that was considered their primary home. In 1929 this house was relocated to 706 Brevard, where Mrs. Haya remained until her death.

Haya´s daughter Marina Haya married Ambrosio Torre in 1908. Mr. Torre was a salesman for tobacco leaf in New York. He moved to Tampa opened a cigar factory, and produced the Americus brand cigars. The couple raised five children in Tampa, named; Ambrose, Ignatius, Marion, Joseph (Joe), and Fannie.

_On Tuesday April 13, 1886, Haya's Factory or Flor the Sanchez y Haya, produced its first cigar. Is then when received the title of "Factory No. 1". The secret to be the first was the used of tobacco which had already been stripped of its stems and the advantage of a present strike at the Ybor factory. In the Spring 1906 a new brick (located at 2311 North 18th Street) building was inaugurated as the new company facilities.

_Haya and his partner not only made a fortune from the production of cigars, but they also developed a real estates business; which also induced other manufacturers to move to Ybor City. Haya along with Ybor, went on to play a large role in the development of Ybor City. The Sanchez & Haya Real Estate Co. remained a major source of revenue and owned most of the east Broadway (Seventh Avenue) buildings, the heart of the commercial and residential area of Ybor City.

-Among other things, Haya was co-founder of the Centro Español mutual aid society. He also was instrumental in supporting the social lives of his workers in the formation of the Spanish Casino, an organization devoted to the recreation and entertainment of cigar makers. Haya was president of the organization and contributed generously to its construction and maintenance.

-In the afternoon of Thursday May 10th 1906, surrounded by his wife and family, Mr. Haya died at the age of 63. In his obituary the next morning his role in the evolution and development of Tampa was adequately summarized; "The death of Mr Ignacio Haya removed one of the conspicuous figures of the growth of Tampa and of its great industry"... The Tribune, speaking for the people of Tampa, pays tribute to the career of this strong man who has gone from among us so suddenly. Men like Mr. Haya make a city great and Tampa cannot have to many of them.- Tampa Tribune May 11, 1906.

-He was one of two Spanish cigar makers who decided to bring the industry to Tampa. His name isn't recognized as well as Martinez Ybor, nor is the town that sprang up around his factory named for him. Today only a little-known street well outside of Ybor City, in south Seminole Heights bear his last name, a neighborhood that didn't exist until some years after his death. This is one of the names that history is almost forgotten and not well recognized by the city, this days...





7th Avenue & 15th Street - 1886




2311 N. 18th Street




Haya's Family


Source: "Obscure cigar maker really the first" - Michael Canning - "Tampa Bay History Center" by Glenn Westfall - "The Beginning of Ybor City" - by Durward Long - "Tobacco Leaf " - Jan. 14, 1928 - Tampa Tribune - 1906 - USF Special Collections Photos - "Cigar City Architecture and Legacy" - Author - Researcher W. Reyes, Ph.D.

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