West Tampa

West Tampa is one of the oldest neighborhoods within the city limits of Tampa, Florida, United States. It was an independently incorporated city from 1895 until 1925, when Tampa annexed it.   One of two oldest known photos of West Tampa, circa. 1895 West Tampa is located west of the Hillsborough River, approximately 1 mile from downtown. As of the 2000 census, the district had a population of 22,008. It has consistently been home to one of the highest concentrations of Latinos in the city since its founding in 1892.


West Tampa was founded in 1892 by Scottish immigrant and local attorney Hugh Macfarlane. They bought 200 acres of forested land to start a new development by luring some of the cigar factories and cigar workers from Ybor City, a very successful new immigrant community on the northeast side of Tampa.

Transportation issues stunted West Tampa’s initial growth. The first cigar factory built in the area was forced to close temporarily because workers refused to ride a ferry across the Hillsborough River to the “wilds” of West Tampa.

Macfarlane had built a bridge and connected West Tampa to Tampa’s extensive streetcar line by 1894, spurring tremendous growth. Many of these new residents had not come over from Ybor City; most were Cuban immigrants who settled in West Tampa soon after arriving in the United States. Accordingly, the community was almost exclusively Cuban during the first several years of its existence. A gradual influx of Italians and Spaniards, mainly from Ybor City, gradually made the cultural mix of the two communities more similar over time.

West Tampa was incorporated as a city in 1895 with a population of 2,335, making it the 2nd largest Hispanic community in the state. By 1900, it had more inhabitants than Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee and was the second largest city in Hillsborough County, behind only Tampa, FL. The neighboring communities combined to produce more hand-rolled cigars than any other locale in the world during the early 20th century, earning Tampa the nickname “Cigar City.”

The first public library in Hillsborough County, the West Tampa Free Public Library, opened on Howard Avenue in 1914. Construction of the Neo-classical revivalist style brick building was funded with a $17,500 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The West Tampa Library was restored and expanded in 2004 and is still in use. A1 Bed Bug Exterminator Tampa


As of the census of 2000, there were 22,008 people, 9,277 households, and 9,908 housing units residing in West Tampa. The district’s racial makeup was 73.7% White, 11.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.5% Asian and Pacific Islander, 8.4% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. 51.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In West Tampa, the population was spread out, with 6% Under 5 Years; 5.5% 5 to 9 Years; 10.8% 10 to 19 Years; 32.0% 20 to 39 Years; 22.7% 40 to 59 Years; 17.2% 60 to 79 Years; 3.3% 80 Years and Over. Out of every 100 females residing in the district, there were 93 males.

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