Before city leaders envisioned Ybor City as a residential and shopping district, they boasted about bullfights. "It was how we were going to save Ybor City," explained former Mayor Dick Greco.
The red neon "Open" sign in the Franklin Street News Stand window would flicker on at 7 A.M., followed by the neon signs for the news stand's neighbors–the Shoe Hospital and Carmen's Sandwich Shop–shortly after that. A block away, the homeless people sleeping in front of Sacred Heart Church would wake up, roll up their blankets and seek shade from the hot sun.
Downtown Tampa was a shining model of the American landscape in the 1950s. On every street corner, you could find the best jewelry stores, hat shops, and restaurants Tampa had to offer.
Travel down 7th Avenue in Ybor City far enough, and eventually, you'll come to a rough-looking neighborhood by the train tracks. The warehouses in the area stand empty, and a few convenience stores pop up every couple of miles. The grass needs cutting, the bushes need trimming, and some low-slung buildings must either be demolished or rehabbed.
In 1947, the United States was still regaining its peacetime balance following the most devastating war in the history of the world. However, there was a nervous sense of optimism that the enormous domestic postwar demand for consumer goods would continue to drive the bullish economy. But what if it didn't, some asked? What if the economy failed? Wasn't it the war that got us out of the great depression? Now that the war is over, what guarantees are there that we will not slip back into the shape we were in? Could there be another depression, more days of 20% unemployment? And what if there is another War? War was a genuine concern as news of an atomic bomb being tested in the Soviet Union was revealed, and China fell to Mao's communist hordes. The Red Scare became rampant, and America's response to such threats, perceived or otherwise, did little to ease its citizen's apprehensions. Harry Truman delivered a doctrine that promised to fight communism wherever it rose, whether in Western Europe, the Middle East, or Asia. This stance proved costly, ultimately hurting the economy and fueling a period historians dubbed the "Age of Anxiety."