Tampa Cigar Industry & History Time Line (1900's to 1907)



George N. Benjamin































































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

1900's January 2, - Turn to a New Century, and new hopes, and challenges to the cities, and Hon. George N. Benjamin, Mayor of West Tampa, and Frank C. Bowyer, Mayor of Tampa are looking for prosperous New Century. The arrival of hundreds of workers from Cuba, Spain, Italy and Sicily thronged to the area. So far since 1892 sixty-three (63) companies in operations, and most of them still present with a population of 8,790 residents in West Tampa, and 15,839 in Tampa. The average salary is $ 15.00 a month, the President of the United States is William McKinley (1897-1901).

  • City records show a population of 15, 839 permanent residents.
1900's - In less than a decade the city (West Tampa) had gone from a remote rural area of isolated swamps, and citrus groves to being a mayor player. Over 7,000 workers with an annual payroll of $ 3.5 million dollars with 151 factories between West Tampa (110) and Ybor (41). With a production of over one million dollars a month. Hon. Francisco Milian is the new Mayor of West Tampa.
1900 November 10th - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1900" with a total of 197,848,000 cigars.
1901 Friday August 2, - A general strike was called by "La Resistencia" against Cuesta-Rey Company. The issue was the company's Jacksonville branch factory where workers were paid below the wages scale for Tampa workers.
1901 November 13th - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1901" with a total of 147,333,000 cigars.

1901 December 8, - the (Deutche Amerikancher Verein) German Club was organized, and the club building was located on Nebraska Avenue and 11th Street.
The club not only served the German community but was open to the public, consider to be one of the best clubs in the South.

1902 March – the Centro Asturiano is founded, with club location at the SE corner of Nebraska Avenue and Palm Avenue (10th Avenue). With around 600 members, providing social, and support its own medical services to their members,
1902 - November 15th - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1902" with a total of 141,905,000 cigars.

1903 Sunday September 13, - West Tampa was hit by a destructive hurricane, creating damages to buildings, and homes in the area, and three persons died. Also damages, and injuries were reported in Tampa, and Ybor City.

  • Tuesday September 15 - Isidor Kaunitz started construction of the first brick commercial building on 7th Avenue, Ybor City. Store plans are to open "El Sobrero Blnanco" by December 1903.

1903 November 11th. -The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1903" with a total of 220,430,000 cigars.
1904 Thursday March 3, - During the City Council meeting was reported that the city had 14 miles of paved street, 8 officers of police with 24 hours a day patrol, 9 firemen, and a annual Tax Revenue of $73,750.00 a year. - Tampa Tribune – Morning

1904 Monday April 4, - at 1:15 PM – West Tampa - in a building, located on Pine Street near Howard Avenue the "Great West Tampa Fire" started. Over two city blocks with 130 building in an area of 25 acres were reduce to ashes, and over 1,000 residents lost there houses, over 800 lost their jobs.

1904 May - The first Gasparilla Parade was held in this date. The theme is inspired by the legend of José Gaspar, a Spanish nobleman, and naval officer who turned to piracy.
1904 Saturday June 18, - A strike hit Ybor City & West Tampa cigar industry but this time came not from the cigar makers, but from the workers who made the boxes for the finished cigars. The upheaval disrupted virtually all of the Ybor City & West Tampa factories, and hundred of workers were fired. Among the factories burned J.M. Martinez Co., Antonio Santaella Cigar, Co., A.M. Barraco Cigar, Co., Caro & Company, Leopold Powell Cigar, Co., so as many others.
1904 November 10th. - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1904" with a total of 196,961,000 cigars.
1905 Thursday May 11, - The City Council during their meeting approve a motion to expand the fire department with the addition of two more full-time firemen, and to acquire a horse, and a new pull wagon.

1905 Thursday November 2, - the Morgan Cigar Co. moved from Seattle to a small factory on the corner of Fremont Avenue and Arch Street. (In 1907 the company moved to a new building located at the corner of Howard Avenue and St. Louis Street, and in 1910 to the Berriman Bros. Cigar Co. building at LaSalle Street and Howard Avenue. In this location they can accomodate up to 1,000 workers.

  • The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1905" with a total of 220,430,000 cigars.

1906 May 10th, - in the afternoon Ignacio Haya pass-away, surrounded by his wife and family, at the age of 63. In his obituary the next morning his role in the evolution and development of Tampa was adequately summarized.

1906 May 11th , – “the death of Mr. Ignacio Haya are moved 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
1906 November 14th. - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1906" with a total of 277,662,000 cigars.

1907 - Tremendous growth of the cigar industry that produced prosperity for a number of associated business. Specially to the steamship, which plied the routes between Port Tampa, Key West & Havana, Cuba with daily trips (3). Average price of a house is $400.00 in Tampa. Main Street was brick paved eastward toward Tampa. So as many avenue in Ybor City. During this year a major paving project was undergoing in Tampa.

1907 November 12th. - The cigar Manufacturer Association presented today the "Cigars Production Report 1907" with a total of 285,660,000 cigars.



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