As I wrote about in Part 1 of this series, Tampa’s cigar factories are monuments to the city’s defining industry. In addition, the three-story brick buildings feature excellent craftsmanship and sustainable building practices. At one time, there were more than 200 cigar factories in the city, but now 24 exist. Of those, only nine have been locally designated, leaving the remaining in the hands of often inconsiderate owners, some of whom have fought local landmarking proposals.
The factories featured in this entry are all located in the West Tampa neighborhood of Tampa. West Tampa was incorporated in 1895 as a cigar industry town in an attempt to emulate the success of nearby Ybor City. West Tampa initially struggled to attract cigar manufacturers, but the city flourished once a trolley line was constructed to Tampa. Cigar factories, houses, and businesses sprung up, and thousands of Spaniards, Cubans, and Italians swarmed to the city. The city resisted incorporation into Tampa until 1925.
The downfall of the cigar industry wounded West Tampa’s economy, and it really hasn’t recovered. However, its close proximity to downtown Tampa and large stock of historic, affordable housing could very well make it the next Tampa neighborhood to experience a rebirth. It would only be fitting if rehabilitation of West Tampa’s cigar factories spurred the community’s revitalization, and there are signs of this occurring, as you will see below. Note that all the cigar factories in this entry are unprotected.
Morgan Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Andres Diaz Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Berriman-Morgan Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Balbin Brothers Cigar Co. (unprotected)
A. Santaella Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Samuel L. Davis Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Y. Pendas and Alvarez Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Bustillo and Brothers-Diaz (unprotected)
San Martin and Leon Cigar Co. (unprotected)
Villazon, Garcia, and Vega Cigar Co. (unprotected)