Tampa, FL Architecture

The year 1886 marked the beginning of the development of the City of Tampa.  It was the year that Vicente Martinez Ybor established the first cigar factory in what later became known as Ybor City and the year when Henry B. Plant decided to extend his railroad to Tampa, develop Port Tampa and and build the Tampa Bay Hotel , inaugurated January 1891.

In 1886, in anticipation to the construction of a bridge over the Hillsborough River on Lafayette Street (now Kennedy Blvd.) in 1888, O. H. Platt acquired a 20 acre ± farm from Robert Jackson which he would develop into the area known as Hyde Park for Hyde Park, IL where he hailed from.  A combination of individual subdivisions quickly developed and by 1910 about 100 acres of citrus groves south of Swann Avenue had been subdivided.

The houses depicted below were built by notable residents of the area who contributed in a significant way to the development and growth of the area. These are some of the names and their contribution to Tampa's growth.

  • Isaac Maas  (1851-1935) - German immigrant who in 1877 arrived in the US and in 1887 established the well known department store Maas Brothers  with his brother Abraham.
  • Peter O. Knight (1865-1946) - Served as mayor of Fort Myers and in the state Legislature before moving to Tampa in 1889 where he worked as county solicitor and state attorney from 1893-1899.  As a businessman he organized the Tampa Gas Co. and the Tampa Electric Co.  He also was instrumental in the creation of the Tampa Hardware Co., the Tribune Publishing Co., Florida Brewing Co., Tampa Phosphate Co., Tampa Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Tampa Union Station Co., Ybor City Land and Improvement Co. and Florida Central Peninsular Railroad. 
  • Angel la Madrid Cuesta  (1858-1936) - Cigar factory owner of the  well known firm Cuesta, Rey & Co.
  • James Buchanan Anderson (1852- ) - In 1894 organized the Exchange National Bank to take over the financially troubled Gulf National Bank.  Was president of the Tampa Board of Trade, Tampa City Councilman and member of the Tampa Board of Public Works.
  • William A. Morrison  (1839-1911) - Orange grove owner, namesake of Morrison Grove, the name given to the area of Hyde Park west and north of Bayshore Blvd., south of Swann Ave. and east of Willow Ave. 
  • Harry James Watrous (1867-1935) - Together with his father James M. Watrous (1829-1922) owned large orange groves until the disastrous freeze of 1895. In 1898 he became involved in Real Estate acquiring an interest in the firm Hendry & Knight developers of the "Garrison" maritime section of Tampa.  Was an original Director of the American National Bank and continued as such when absorbed by the Citizens Bank & Trust Co.  He was Director of the Citizens-American Bank and Trust Co. and of the First Savings & Trust Co.
  • Henry Leiman (1857- ) - Started his professional career in the printing business in his home State of NY.  In 1894 he saw great opportunity in Tampa where he moved and established the Tampa Box Co. to supply cigar boxes to the growing cigar manufacturing industry.
  • Currie J. Hutchinson - Owner of a pharmacy business on Franklin Street and a native of Ohio where most of the construction materials came from. It has been used as a hospital, university rooming house and fraternity house, and most recently offices for a law firm. 
  • Sumter L. Lowry (1861-1936) - Originally from South Carolina, moved to Tampa in 1894.  Was City Commissioner and as such was instrumental in having the City of Tampa acquire the land and establish a park later named in his honor today known as Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Thomas Carlson Taliafero (1859-1928) - In 1883 established and was for many years thereafter president of the First National Bank of Tampa.
  • William Fraser Himes (1879-1949) - Prominent attorney member of the firm Glen & Himes.

The development of Hyde Park was a mixture of styles with its early structures representing several revival styles which included Queen Anne, Tudor, Classical, Colonial, French and Mediterranean.  Later structures included Craftsman, Prairie and Bungalow styles as well as vernacular structures which do not follow any academic influence.  

Two of the best known architects in Tampa during the early 20th Century were Bayard Clayton Bonfeoy (1872-1953) and Malachi Leo Elliott (1886-1967).  In 1907 they formed Bonfeoy and Elliott, a partnership that lasted until the WWI years.  Some of the work the produced together included:
  • Tampa YMCA (1909)
  • Charlie Wall House (1913)
  • Centro Asturiano (1914)
  • Tampa City Hall (1915)
  • Henry Leiman House (1914)
  • L'Unione Italiana (1917)

In 1920 Elliott formed his own firm named M. Leo Elliott, Inc., some of the work produced included:
  • Circulo Cubano (1917)
  • Temple Terrace Country Club Building (1922)
  • Temple Terrace Real Estate Office (1922)
  • Club Morocco Nightclub & Casino (1926)
  • Masonic Temple No. 25 (1928)

​Another well known archited during Tampa's early years was Francis J. Kennard (1865-1944). Some of his work was done in collaboration with also architect Michael J. Miller*.  His most notable work includes:
  • James Buchanan Anderson House* 
  • Floridan Hotel (1927)
  • Old Pinellas County Courthouse
  • El Centro Español de Tampa (1912)
  • St. Andrews Episcpal Church*
  • Hillsborough Bank Building in Plant City

Other architects that produced notable work which today still stands and some of which is included in the galleries below include; John Eberson (Tampa Theater), John A. Wood (Tampa Bay Hotel), G. F. McKay (Kress Building), J. F. Leitner (Union RR Station).

Many of the area's early inhabitants were immigrants from Spain, Italy and Cuba and the influence of their diverse cultural backgrounds can still be seen today in the distinct architecture of its buildings.  In the Tampa Cigar Factories pages you can learn about the cigar factories structures that still remain standing today.

The two galleries below illustrate the architectural styles of Tampa and Ybor City.  The Centro Español was an ethnic social club established by Spanish immigrants that were attracted to Tampa because of its growing cigar industry.  It had two locations, a main location in Ybor City and a second one in West Tampa to serve its members from that area, then an incorporated municipality separate from Tampa. The Wets Tampa location is depicted herein due to its relationship to Ybor City and its attractive architectural design.