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How you can learn more about Tampa’s history on its 135th anniversary

Franklin Street in Tampa, Florida, showcasing parked cars, palm trees and old businesses in 1954.
Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection
Hillsborough County Public Library
Businesses along Franklin Street in 1954 from the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection. The collection includes 20,000 images of Tampa Bay and Florida's West coast from the late 1800s to the early 1960s.

The City of Tampa is celebrating its 135th birthday during Archives Awareness Week with virtual galleries, programs and exhibits at local archives.

Established in 1992, Archives Awareness Week gives local archives the opportunity to come together and present their collections in ways that convey the value of archives in the identification, preservation and conservation of historic records.

From learning how to handle, dry, and clean damaged family heirlooms to the Burgert Re-Enactment Instagram Photo Challenge, your journey to exploring Tampa's history starts below.

The weeklong celebration of Tampa's history includes exhibits, virtual galleries, a look at Tampa's rich cigar history, and a walking tour of Ybor City.

Exhibits and Virtual Galleries

Cuban Pathways - Tampa Bay History Center

A 30-minute tour guiding you through 500 years of Cuban history and its Tampa connections.

Immigration and Ybor City 1886-1930 - Ybor City Museum State Park

An immigrant groups' exhibit that intertwines the work and social lives of the Cubans, Spaniards, Sicilians, Romanian Jews, and Germans who helped weave the diverse tapestry that is uniquely Ybor.

Kitschy Cartography: Illustrated and Pictorial Maps of Florida - Tampa Bay History Center

This exhibit showcases maps with detailed illustrations due to the new printing techniques of the era, making publishing in color easier and less expensive.

Stop the Presses! Fake News and the War of 1898 - Henry B. Plant Museum

This exhibit at the University of Tampa explores yellow journalism and the work of famous war correspondents such as Richard Harding Davis and Frederic Remington.

Burgert Re-Enactment Instagram Photo Challenge - Instagram

Visit the @TampaHillsLib Instagram and send in your photos using the hashtag #LikeABurgert. Three randomly selected winners will receive a Burgert Brothers photo print of their choice donated by Bob Baggett Photography. The contest runs from July 10 through July 16 by 4 p.m. Winners will be contacted after July 18.

To see more of Tampa Bay and Florida's West coast from the late 1800s to the early 1960s, check out the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection.


Plant’s Follies: The Casino and Tampa’s Civic Identity - Sunday, July 10, 3 p.m. at the Henry B. Plant Museum

The most famous performers in America appeared on the stage of the Tampa Bay Hotel’s Casino at the turn of the 20th century. Join Dr. Charles McGraw Groh to learn how theater programs were used to reconstruct Tampa’s place in the history of popular entertainment.

A black and white photo of the Nordacs Cigars building with a billboard on top reading Temple Terrace Estates in Tampa, Florida.
Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection
Hillsborough County Public Library
In the early 1900s, Ybor City was the cigar capital of the world. At its height, it is estimated that 10,000 cigar rollers worked in 200 cigar factories producing up to a half-billion hand rolled cigars a year.

Changes: Ybor City in 1954 - Monday, July 11, 11 a.m. at the J.C. Newman Company

J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is now the last operating cigar factory in Tampa and acts as the ambassador of the city’s historic industry. Hear stories of change from the Newman family during a special presentation in the cigar hand rolling room.

100 Years Ago: Tampa in 1922 - Monday, July 11, 3 p.m. at Tampa's Old City Hall

Join the Tampa Bay History Center’s Curator of Black History, Fred Hearns, and local historian E.J. Salcines, to learn more about Tampa’s past. Discussion topics will include Blanche Armwood, the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tampa’s Urban League, and the death of Dale Mabry in 1922. Guests will receive a commemorative booklet, Tampa in 1922.

An Overview of Historic Sanborn Maps - Tuesday, July 12, 5 p.m. at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Learn more about Tampa's history through Sanborn fire insurance maps and their uses in this overview. • Virtual Registration Link

Smithsonian Institute’s Save Your Family Treasures - Wednesday, July 13 12–1 p.m. at the Tampa Bay History Center • Virtual Registration Link

Join Smithsonian experts to learn how to handle, dry, and clean damaged family heirlooms using materials accessible at local hardware stores.

Money Talks: How Banking Records Contextualize Florida History - Wednesday, July 13 5:00 p.m. at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library • Virtual Registration Link

Learn about the origin of the Florida Banking Records collection, how the records have been handled, and why they are important to understanding the history of the Tampa Bay area.

A Century of SOHO: Stories and Archives on Howard Avenue - Thursday, July 14, 11 a.m. at the Tampa Bay History Center

TECO Learning Center Howard Avenue was originally the dividing line between the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County and has been home to a vibrant commercial district for over a century. Explore archives from The Tampa Tribune, the Burgert Brothers Collection, and the Touchton Map Library to learn about the history of Howard Avenue.

Listen to History: Governor LeRoy Collins and his Pivotal Speech on Race, 1960 - Thursday, July 14, 2 p.m. - Virtual Event

Travel back in time with USF Special Collections curator Andy Huse, history professor K. Stephen Prince, Ph.D., and the Tampa Bay History Center’s Curator of Black History Fred Hearns. As civil rights demonstrations and racial violence spread across Florida, Gov. LeRoy Collins’ landmark speech on race relations conveyed his frustrations in an unforgettable way, securing his legacy as one of Florida’s most prominent governors. Digitized from reel-to-reel audio tape, discussants will contextualize a shortened version of the speech and provide commentary while inviting viewers to explore the speech for themselves online.

The Soul Walk History Party - Thursday, July 14, 3:30 p.m. at the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library

The Soul Walk History Party welcomes Black Tampanians to share their thrilling days of yesteryear. Bring your old photographs and documents to the library for scanning. Have a great story? They will also be recording oral histories. This event will celebrate Tampa’s 135th birthday and light refreshments will be served.

Ybor City Walking Tour - Friday, July 15, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Cuban Club • Registration Link

Tour Tampa’s only National Historic Landmark District and learn about early Ybor City people, social life and work culture.

Tomes & Treasures of Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library - Friday, July 15, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library • 1:00 p.m. Sign Up Link4:00 p.m. Sign Up Link

Discover how the library acquired these artifacts and the archival methods used to preserve them for public research. 

Remembering the News at the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library - Saturday, July 16, 2 p.m. at the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library • Sign Up Link

Tour the Florida Sentinel Bulletin Collection and learn about the publication’s history and its impact on Tampa’s African American community.  View periodical and microfilm materials, and more.

Sarah Petrowich is the WUSF Stephen Noble Social Media intern for summer of 2022.
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