The Pendàs Alvarez Company
  History Collection

The story of this company is a very singular one, because this were among the largest cigar companies in the world at the time. As follow you will have the opportunity to learn about their founders.

Ysidro Pendàs, born in May 20, 1844, he learned the cigar business at the famous La Sultana factory in Cuba. The men who would become his business partners in later life also got their training in Cuba, Miguel Alvarez, like Ysidro, trained at the La Sultana plant, while Enrique Pendàs, Ysidro´s brother, trained at the Romeo y Julieta factory in Havana.

The Pendàs-Alvarez Company was founded in 1867 in New York by Ysidro Pendàs, Miguel Alvarez, and Faustino Lozano. The company was located a few blocks away from another well known cigar manufacturer Sanchez & Haya. Their company grew rapidly and they opened a branch in Havana, Cuba. Lozano retired from the company in 1894. The firm was a family concern from the start. Brother Enrique and Jaime Pendàs, a cousin of Ysidro, were early members of the firm. Anastacio Alvarez, Miguel´s brother, was also an early member of the company, they were all born in Asturias, Spain.



Ysidro Pendàs married Elizabeth Hogan, and the couple had nine children, including three sons. Josè M., Ysidro, Jr., and Manuel, who were eventually members of the firm. Their daughters were Marìa, Rita, Leonora, Lilia, Isabel, and Juanita.

Miguel Alvarez married Julia Hogan, Ysidro´s sister-in-law. Their son John, also joined the company. Ysidro Pendàs died suddently in September 1902 at the age of 58, while returning from a trip to his birth-place in Spain. The members of the Clear Havana Cigar Manufacturers of Tampa, an organization he had been president of, closed their factories in his honor.

Miguel Alvarez retired a few months later, leaving control of the firm to his sons and nephews. He died on December 11, 1918, at the age of 71, his death crippled the company, and when the company bookkeeper, C.H.King, died just a few months later, a fifty-year old company was no more. The factory was quiet for a few months, however, before it was purchased by E. Regensburg and Sons, on May 20, 1920. In 1946, the factory building was sold to the Hillsborough Box Company.

Enrique Pendàs was born in Asturias, Spain, in 1865. At the age of 16, he left his homeland and came to Cuba where he lived for around two years, and was trained at the Romeo & Julieta factory in Havana. Then he when to New York where he worked with his brother Ysidro Pendàs, of Lozano, Pendàs Cigar Company. Years later in May 15,1887, the company decided to open a factory in Tampa, and send Enrique to set up its operation, at the time he was 22 years old. This was eleven years after the cigar industry started in Ybor City. Enrique became manager of Lozano, Pendàs and Company., the third cigar factory established in cigar city.

He remained as manager through the reorganization of the firm, which became Y. Pendas and Alvarez until 1914. Two years later (1916) he became manager of the American Cigar Company, factories in Tampa.

In 1929, after the death of Laureano Torres, Sr. he became manager of the Regensburg Cigar Factory in West Tampa.

He asisted to found "El Porvenir" (The Future), a health maintenace organization for cigar workers. The members paid $1.25 a month and in return received medicines, hospitalization, and full medical

services. El Porvenir worked exceptionally well, and later the various nationalities branched off to form their own mutual aid societies - El Centro Español, L'Unione Italiana, Union Marti - Maseo, El Circulo Cubano and El Centro Asturiano.

El Centro Español was formed in 1891 and was funded by Ignacio Haya, one of the ownwers of Sanchez and Haya Cigar Factory. He was elected its first president and Pendas served as vice'president.

Pendas & Alvarez Cigar Company was located at Albany between Cherry Street and Palmetto. This factory was built around 1905 to 1909 and was designed by Fred J. James. It had clocks on all four pf their eight sides of its seven story water tower, and played music on the hour. It was an immediate landmark for West Tampans.The factory accommodated 700 workers. Pendas & Alvarez Cigar Company was in business since 1897 at 1416 Spring Street in Tampa, in an area known as "Little Havana". In this location the business soon outgrew the small factory, and thus planning began for a new building in West Tampa.


2301 N. Albany Street

After completed their West Tampa factory, they were also operating two in Tampa, one in New York, and one in Cuba. They were among the largest Havana cigar companies in the world, a fact they attributed to their production of quality "claro" Havana cigars. Also in 1911 the company built a large tobacco warehouse in Havana to ensure a steady supply of tobacco leaves for their factories.

The company relocated to Albany Street in May of 1909. The factory closed during the general strike in 1910, and then re-opened in January of 1911, and finally closed operations in December of 1918. They produced such brands as "La Mia, Webster, Farragut, Flor de Y. Pendas and Alvarez.", (see some of the labels below). The building was purchased by E. Regensburg and Sons on May 20,1920.

Mr. Pendas died on December 31, 1935 and the age of 70 years in Tampa, and to honor him all the cigar factories in Ybor and West Tampa closed the morning of his funeral. The hands of the large clock on the Regengsburg factory were stopped at 3:25 a.m., the time of his death the day before.

But what for sure we know, is that Mr. Enrique Pendas was one of the most succesfull and influential cigar manufacturer of his time...




Click here to see factories map


Source of information; "Ciudad Cigars West Tampa" - Armando Mendez - Univ. North Carolina Southern Historical Collection - University of South Florida Special Collections - Tobacco Leaf Journal 1936's - Building Research: "Cigar City Architecture and Legacy" - 2015 - Author: W. Reyes, Ph.D.


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