Important political moments remembered behind the scenes at Tampa Bay History Center

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This President’s Day we’re taking a look back in time to celebrate the political figures who left a footprint in Tampa Bay.

Tampa’s presidential history goes way back to 1839 when future president Zachary Taylor was here with the military.

The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was very important during the time of the war and Zachary Taylor has more success than other commanders at that time, according to Saunders Foundation Curator of Public History Brad Massey.

There is a letter on display at the Tampa Bay History Center that he wrote when he was down here in Tampa in Sept. 1839.

More than 100 years later, one of the most famous presidents – John F. Kennedy – landed in Tampa just days before his assassination.

In the 1960s Florida had a population boom and it became incredibly important to campaign in the Sunshine State, Massey said.

Old photographs show JFK in Tampa in 1963 to visit the McDill Airforce Base during the Cold War.

Fast forward to the first national political convention in town in 2012.

8 On Your Side’s Lila Gross went behind the scenes to see artifacts collected at the Tampa Bay History Center.

The museum collects historical items from a papier-mâché Mitt Romney head from protests at the Republican National Convention to buttons used in national and local political campaigns.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the collections at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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