Founded in 1885, Tampa's Ybor City became the center of cigar making in North America. At one time there were 230 cigar factories employing 12,000 cigar makers and producing 700 million cigars a year.
One of only three Historic Landmark Districts in the State of Florida, Ybor City's history is rich with stories of immigration, cigar making, organized crime, revolution, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jose Marti, the leader of Cuban Independence.
Two companies provide interesting walking tours of Ybor City providing intriguing glimpses into the 'melting pot' that is Ybor City.
Ybor Walking Tours (www.yborwalkingtours.com) gives 90-minute tours on the brick streets of "La Setima Avenida" (Seventh Avenue), the Broadway of Ybor. The tour explores the many layers of history that make up the fabric of Ybor City.
For a slightly different take on Ybor City, enjoy the Ybor Ghost Tour (www.yborghosttour.com). Expert storytellers convey personal tales of the people who lived, worked, gambled, fought, and died in Ybor City. Experienced in the paranormal, the guides are always on the look out for other "storytellers" emerging from the past.