This magazine could have easily been named after the Cuban Sandwich. Today, that savory creation can more easily identify Tampa than the cigar. It can be challenging to find a fine Cuban sandwich like Cuban cigars. Unlike Cuban Cigars, one could argue that the so-called Cuban Sandwich is more Tampa than Havana. As Cigar City Magazine launches its second issue, it is especially appropriate to re-examine our town’s distinctive Sandwich.
How were cigars made? What was the process by which tobacco was cultivated, harvested, and formed into a "Clear Havana" cigar? In this article, we'll look at the physical aspects of the cigar industry in Tampa, Florida, beginning with the opening of Vicente Martinez Ybor's factory in 1886 and through the industry's decline in the late 1930s. How did the industry develop? How did the factories operate? Who worked in them? What jobs did they perform? Though you may be familiar with the "Ybor City Story," sometimes the simple questions get overlooked.
Who was Gasparilla? The answer to that depends on who you ask. It is one of the first things people want to know when they come to our town for the annual Gasparilla Invasion and Festival. There have been many theories over the years, and someone back in time penned the following poetic explanation.
La Rosa Blanca
(The White Rose)
I cultivate a white rose, in July as in January.
For the sincere friend who gives me his open hand.
And for the cruel one who tears out the heart that gives me life, I cultivate neither thistle nor weed, I cultivate a white rose.
Jose Martí, 1853-1895)