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Tampa History, News and Events

Tampa Mafia Takeover Of The ‘Burg’

Posted in History on Friday, September 26, 2014. Written by Scott M. Deitche

Tampa Mafia  Takeover Of The ‘Burg’

When bolita kingpin Charlie Williams was killed in Ybor City in February of 1953, it was the end of a local control of the bolita rackets in the ‘burg. While Williams was able to grow his business with little influence from Tampa at first, he started working more and more with wiseguys from across the Bay. 

Prohibition Comes to the Tampa Bay History Center!

Posted in Today on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

Prohibition Comes to the Tampa Bay History Center!

In a tumultuous era spanning 13 years, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. Prohibition was now a part of the Constitution, holding the same status as freedom of speech and the abolition of slavery. Ratified in 1919, the 18th Amendment stirred up a passionate and sometimes volatile debate between “wets” and “drys” that will forever cement Prohibition’s place in history.

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The Mafia Tour

Posted in Today on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Written by Lisa M. Figueredo

The Mafia Tour

The tour will take you to old gambling palaces, street corners and alleys where some mobsters met their demise, and restaurants where wise guys like famed boss Santo Trafficante Jr. held court. Join us for this one-of-a-kind walk through Tampa’s most storied neighborhood. We guarantee you’ll never look at Ybor City the same way again.

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The Biggest Hit!

Posted in History on Sunday, August 17, 2014. Written by Scott M. Deitche

The Biggest Hit!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s also been about 50 years since the first echoes of conspiracy began circling around the killing. With the release of the Warren Commission report in September of 1964, charges of cover-ups and withholding information about the case began in earnest. To this day, the JFK Assassination is one of the most debated events of the 20th century, spawning hundreds of books, thousands of articles, and a number of movies and television shows.

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Joey Redner & Cigar City Beer

Posted in People on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Written by Paul Guzzo

Joey Redner & Cigar City Beer

Joey Redner, the founder of the popular Cigar City Brewing and the son of one of Tampa’s most infamous individuals, does not flinch when asked if he ever detested living in the shadow of the “Strip Club King.”

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Saint Petersburg Becomes Craft Beer Destination

Posted in Today on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Written by Mark DeNote

Saint Petersburg Becomes Craft Beer Destination

In the thirsty times, seeking out handcrafted, local beer in Saint Petersburg led folks to Gulfport’s shoreline and Peg’s Cantina. The cantina stood alone, and the small, venerable brewpub was arguably located on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg proper in another city.

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Jai-Alai in Tampa

  • Jai-Alai in Tampa

    Jai-Alai in Tampa

    Michael Murillo

    The ball flies past players’ heads at more than 150 M.P.H. before striking the front wall with a hard click–and speeding back toward them. In an instant it’s trapped in a basket attached to a man’s hand like a wicker hook. He whips his body forward, flicking the basket and propelling the ball back toward the wall–again at blurring speeds–while another player positions himself for a chance at it when it comes back. The noisy exchanges continue until points are scored, teams savor victory and crowds cheer in the stands. This is Jai-Alai!

Cuscaden Park: Ybor City's Field of Dreams!

  • Cuscaden Park: Ybor City’s Field of Dreams

    Cuscaden Park: Ybor City’s Field of Dreams

    Mark Panuthos

    If Ybor City’s backbone was its cigar factories, Cuscaden Park was its heart. The park still exists today, though a faint shadow of its former self. Its 500 seat capacity grandstand was demolished and its baseball fields gave way to soccer fields. To drive past the park today, some would never know that this field was once Ybor City’s Field of Dreams.  

Key West & the Building of the Over-Sea Railroad

  • Key West & the Building of the Over-Sea Railroad

    Key West & the Building of the Over-Sea Railroad

    Maureen J. Patrick

    Skepticism was enormous despite Henry Flagler's reputation as the man whose railway, steamship, and hotel ventures had brought much of Florida from backwoods to modernity in a few busy decades.

Professional Wrestling in Florida

  • Professional Wrestling in Florida: The Heavyweight Decades

    Professional Wrestling in Florida: The Heavyweight Decades

    Michael Murillo

    From the founding of the Florida territory in the late 1940s to the later decades, when the familiar voice of longtime announcer Gordon Solie would convey the ringside drama to television audiences every Saturday, professional wrestling enjoyed an enthusiastic- if inelegant- popularity in Florida. Thousands would crowd venues such as the Miami Convention Center, the Lakeland Civic Center, the Jacksonville Coliseum and dozens of others.

Radical Press

  • Radical Press

    Radical Press

    Emanuel Leto

    “To Cubans is owed the credit for the founding of Ybor City, where its residents produce wealth that is enjoyed by the very people who look upon Cubans with contempt…This state of Florida, previously impoverished, is today one of the most prosperous in the country, thanks to the development of Cuban cigars brought by the very people upon whom scorn is heaped.” -Cuba September 9, 1893

Mariel Boatlift & The Columbia Restaurant

  • Mariel Boatlift & The Columbia Restaurant

    Mariel Boatlift & The Columbia Restaurant

    Andrew Huse

    In April 1980, the flood of Cuban refugees continued for several weeks from the port of Mariel. Cubans fled in a desperate flotilla, and Fidel Castro let them go. Family members in the United States suddenly saw hope for relatives still living under the Communist yoke.

Baseball's Tampa Smokers

  • The Tampa Smokers

    The Tampa Smokers

    Ralph Lazzara, III

    The Tampa Smokers played a major role in Tampa’s sports history. In later years they were followed by minor-league teams the Tampa Tarpons and today’s Tampa Yankees.