For me, it all started in Tampa, the “Cigar City”

Born in Tampa, I grew up in the center of Florida. Here, there is a community called Ybor City. Pronounced (Yee…bor), Ybor City is a multi cultural area just a couple miles from Port Tampa. Growing up in Ybor, I was able to witnessed the Cuban immigrants build the cigar factories, homes, restaurants and cafe’s. They were many. Today, just a few factories still exists. But you can still go down to 7th avenue, the heart of Ybor and get a great cigar.  7th avenue is sort of Tampa’s “Bourbon Street” for social and night life. My whole family worked the cigar factories at one time or another.  I’m proud to say I put my time in over fifty years ago as a 5 year old boy. Mom would take me with her on her second shift to help stack and pack the cigars.  I can still smell the aroma of the tobacco today. Most people think that the first Cuban immigrants settled in Miami, but they worked their way to Tampa where the Cuban community first started in Florida. Back then, most of Tampa was a swamp land. Just to the east and north the Florida Cracker way of life was taking shape.

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One thought on “For me, it all started in Tampa, the “Cigar City”

  1. Pingback: Ybor City – Florida’s Little Italy | jovinacooksitalian

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