History of Tampa Florida

The city of Tampa, Florida has a rich history. It began as a military fort during the 1800s and grew to become one of Florida’s most popular cities. The modern history of Tampa, Florida can be traced back to 1824. During this time, and at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, stood Fort Brooke. It was located in what is today’s downtown Tampa. This fort was built soon after the United States took control of Florida away from Spain. It was an outpost that attracted a small number of civilians to move there.
Fort Brooke
The leaders of the Seminole Indian tribe signed a treaty in 1823. It was known as the Treaty of Moultrie Creek. This treaty established a large Indian reservation in Florida’s interior peninsula. It led to a series of trading posts and forts being constructed by the U.S Government throughout this area. This was done to make certain the provisions of the treaty were enforced.
First Census
The first official census count of the area took place in 1850. The city was listed as Tampa-Fort Brooke. The census showed there were 974 residents. The first public burying ground was established the same year. It was called Oaklawn Cemetery. The first law enforcement position was created in 1855. It was known as City Marshall. On December 15, 1855, Tampa was reincorporated as a town. The first mayor took office in 1856 and his name was Judge Joseph B. Lancaster.
Improvements
A significant event in the history of Tampa Fl occurred during the 1880s. This was the creation of the first railroad links to Tampa. It gave birth to the city’s thriving phosphate and cigar industries. The creation of the cigar centered neighborhood of Ybor City occurred in 1885. This attracted large numbers of Italians, Cubans, Spaniards, and a variety of other immigrants. The population of this area increased significantly and Tampa annexed North Tampa and Ybor City in 1887. Tampa’s population in 1880 was approximately 8,000 people and in 1900 it was more than 15,000. This made it one of Florida’s largest cities.
1920s Growth
The 1920s is known as the time of the Florida Land Boom. D.P Davis was a developer who built two man-made islands known as the Davis Islands. Tampa Municipal Hospital was built on Davis Island in 1924. It is now known as Tampa General Hospital. The Gandy Bridge to St. Petersburg was built in 1924. WDAE radio started broadcasting from Tampa in 1922. WFLA radio began broadcasting from Tampa in 1925. The Municipal Auditorium was built in 1925 and during this time Tampa annexed the town of West Tampa. This doubled Tampa’s population.
1950s Growth
At the beginning of the decade, Tampa was a compact city comprising an area of 19 square miles. Tampa annexed more than 60 square miles of unincorporated land in 1953. This resulted in Tampa’s population growing by more than 150,000 residents. In 1955, television stations WTVE and WFLA-TV started broadcasting. Lowry Park Zoo opened in 1957 and in 1959 Busch Gardens theme park opened.
The 1960s And 1970s Downturn
During the 1960s, Tampa’s population grew slowly and reached over 277,000. The growth of the suburbs emptied the downtown business area. A significant number of industries moved to areas outside the city. Construction of different Interstates and the decline of the cigar industry damaged West Tampa and Ybor City. The problems of the 1970s caused the first population decline in Tampa. Suburban areas experienced significant growth.
Downtown Tampa Revitalization
One of the major improvements in Tampa occurred during the time of Mayor Pam Iorio. She changed the history of Tampa Fl by making the downtown’s redevelopment a priority. Iorio directed the city’s focus to be on bringing residents into an area that was considered to be non-residential. High-rises and other residential buildings were built. In 2006, Bayshore and the Alagon were built. SkyPoint and the Towers of Channelside were constructed in 2007. The construction of Element was completed in 2009. The initiative to improve Tampa Riverwalk expanded the use of the area near downtown at Hillsborough River. In 2010, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park was opened and in 2014 Water Works Park opened.
Museums
There are now many different types of museums in Tampa. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is now located in the Tampa Bay History Center. It was opened in 2009. There is the Glazer Children’s Museum that was opened in 2010. That same year the Tampa Museum of Art was opened.

The modern history of Tampa is the story of a city that had humble beginnings and grew to have an extremely diverse and multicultural business district. It is a place that has created many sustainable communities for its residents. Tampa is now a place where people of all ages and backgrounds come to escape winter, worries, and more. The numbers of people coming to Tampa are on the rise and an increasing number of them choose to stay and make it their home.
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