Walking tour of history in Ybor City - WFLA News Channel 8

Walking tour of history in Ybor City

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One of Ybor's old buildings One of Ybor's old buildings
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

If you are a history buff but not a fan of reading books, there's another way to learn about some unique history in Tampa Bay area on a walking tour of Ybor City.

The journey takes you back to Ybor's creation as a cigar manufacturing town in the 1800s, visiting several historical landmarks along the way. The tour enters the supposedly haunted Don Vicente hotel which used to be a hospital, and strolls past the original cigar factory and the bustling Cuban social club.

Tour guide Lonnie Herman gives an education about all the sites including Ybor's original casitas. Cuban bread was placed on a nail outside the door so families could get to it before the Florida bugs. Herman says the shotgun style homes housed the very first cigar factory workers, who were not charged extra or interest on the homes as incentive to work in Ybor. And their house payment was deducted from their pay over time. Lonnie adds that Ybor became the cigar capital of the world in the 1920s with over 200 cigar factories and over 12,000 people working in them.

Ybor's 7th avenue French look came from immigrants who first settled in New Orleans. And Ybor's ties to the Cuban revolution are so significant that there is a park dedicated to freedom fighter Jose Marti who spent many days there helping free Cuba from the Spanish colonization. The park was donated to the Cuban government in 1956 and technically it is still Cuban land.

If you want to learn more about the tour's schedule and prices click here.

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