Tampa & West Tampa History Time Line (1885 to 1886)



Road 1870's








Tampa 1882










South Florida Line








Hugh MacFarlane










Serafin Sanchez







The following is a timeline of some of the most important events that help to create what is for us today'sTampa..._

1885 May 7th, - on this date the first train station was in a converted home on the river banks by Twiggs and Zack Streets. The Board of Trade was created, with the main goal of convince Mr. Vicente Martinez Ybor to locate his cigar business in Ybor City which happened later that year.

  • July,9th - Serafin Sanchez & Gavino Gutierrez, arrived to Tampa to initiated negotiations with the Board of Trade of Tampa. Vicente Martinez Ybor was interested in 40 acres owned by Capt. John T. Lesley. Serafin Sanchez meet first with with the Board of Trade attorney Mr. Hugh Mc Farlane.
  • August 20th, - the South Florida Railway, reaches outside the township of Tampa, and stop at the future Ybor City Station (16th Street & 7th Avenue).
  • September 7th, Ignacio Haya & Vicente Martinez Ybor visit Tampa by second time to continue negotiations with the Board of Trade.
  • October 5th, – the Board of Trade and Vicente Martinez Ybor, agree in the price ($4,000.00) for the first track of land of 40 acres. He was sixty-eight years old when he began laying out the town which was to make Tampa one of the leading cities of the South.
  • October 8th, – land was cleared, and Gavino Gutierrez, and his surveyors started the process of divide the property into plots for sale and common areas. Gutierrez first plan was gave numerical designation to streets running north and south, and those running east to west were named after state of the union. But the plan change and streets and avenues were given numbers.
  • October 10th, – Ignacio Haya join his friend Vicente Martinez Ybor, and bought twenty acres of land to help develop “Cigar City”. His first factory wood building was located in the SW corner of 7th Avenue and 15th Street.
  • October 15th, – the Ybor Land & Improvement Corporation was created. At this time Ybor secured the additional adjoining fifty acres which ran from Tampa Heights to the edge of the Hillsborough Bay.
  • November 5th, – C.E. Purcell, a local builder contractor received the contract from V.M. Ybor to build a three story wooden cigar factories, and 50 houses for the workers.
  • November 6th, – A.P. Gledden a Tennessee contractor & builder is awarded by V.M. Ybor a construction contract for brick buildings structures.
  • November 14th, – Ybor & Manrrara who felt the railway was a necessity, so they bought controlling interest in a new railway company. This will facilitate transportation, and movement of construction materials in the new city.

1886 January 10th - V.M. Ybor Cigar Company is having labor problems in Key West. And in Tampa cigar workers in the new “Principe de Gales” factory refused to work under the newly hired Spanish foreman.

  • January 12th – a new streetcar service began operating between Ybor City, and Tampa. This was a narrow gauge railway, and were pulled by little engines. This help the residents to enjoy more the atmosphere of the “Cigar City”.

1886 April 1, – a fire rages through Key West, destroying Vicente Martinez Ybor cigar factory so as many others factories, and buildings. Based on this Ybor and others turn to brick construction which is the look that the city has today.

  • April 12, Monday- on this date fifty Cubans cigar workers in Key West boarded the side-wheeler Hutchinson, and sailed for Tampa. This is consider the first group of cigar makers, and workers how arrive to Cigar City.
  • April 13, Tuesday – Sanchez & Haya Cigar Company manufacture the first hand made cigar in Tampa, and obtain the permit as Factory Number 1. The 42 years old Ramòn Fernàndez will past to the history as the man who make the first cigar in Tampa. He arrived in Tampa a few weeks earlier (March 6, 1886), and started preparing for the opening of production today. The superintendent of the factory is Laureano Sanchez.

1886 May 5th – Population in Tampa grew to 2,560 residents, (Ybor City) 89 houses, 33 two stories family dwellings, 10 cigar factories, 2 general stores.

  • May 6th – a bank re-open, and received national charter, and was renamed the First National Bank of Tampa. The original bank open in 1883, and was about to closed due to the lack of business. With the new cigar industry a bank was a necessity.
  • May 12th – the first major labor problem erupted in Ybor City during the opening of Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, “El Principe de Gales” factory. V.M. Ybor brought in a bookkeeper from New York, Cuban workers refused to work until he was removed. Ybor and Manrrara follow the workers request and the bookkeeper was removed from the office later in the day. This is consider the “First Strike in Tampa Cigar Industry”.

1886 June 13th, – V.M. Cigar Factory started official operations, and the cigar makers elect Jose Dolores Poyo as the first lector.

  • June 15th, - at this time several groceries stores are in full operation many of them family owned, and operated. Other specialty stores included meat market, ice cream, and cold drinks emporiums, drug stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.

1886 July 2nd – First group of Italians (90) arrived to the new town of Ybor City. They came from the Sanford area in Central, Florida. Much of these immigrants were from the main land of Italy.

1886 September – some of the best-known Ybor newspaper started operations in this month; Tampa Guardian an independent newspaper & El Yara, Ybors first newspaper, published by Jose Dolores Poyo.

1886 November 11th – a Cuban immigrant, and teacher Carlos Zequeira with the collaboration of Jose Dolores Poyo open the first school.

1886 Monday November 22, - Mr. Hugh MacFarlane, acquire from John Alexander Graham 120 acres of swampland located on the west bank of the Hillsborough River for the amount of $ 2,000.00 dollars. Average salary is $10.00 dollars a month, the President of the United States is Grover Cleveland (1885-89)
1886 December – first urban development is presented in Ybor City, with 176 dwellings, most of them two story surrounded by white picket fences, to be sold to cigar workers from $750 to $900.00 each. Each house had 2 to 3 bedrooms, kitchen, and porch.

1886 December 16, - today Sanchez & Haya purchased 10 additional acres of land from Chaucy and Carolyn Wells, for the amount of $ 2,500.00, substantially increasing the investment of their Land Company in Ybor City.


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History Collection

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Author - Researcher: W. Reyes, Ph.D.