Portraits of Tampa Cigar Manufacturers
  History Collection

The following are the portrait of some of the founding fathers of the Tampa Cigar Industry and their legacy...




-Vicente Martinez Ybor (1818-1896)

-Best known as a cigar manufacturer, but with his vision as a developer who shaped the town that bears his name. His Tampa factory locate at 9th Ave. & Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. Was born in Valencia, Spain (September 7, 1818) to Mrs Maria and Don Antonio Martinez Ibor. At the age of 14 he immigrated to Havana, Cuba, which was then a Spanish colony. There he got interested in Cuba's most lucrative industry, the hand made cigars. By 1853 he was a manufacturer, and in 1868, he got involved indirectly in the Cuban Revolution as a supporter. To avoid persecution as a traitor to Spain, he moved to Key West, Florida. He opened a cigar manufacturing business there at #64 Whitehead Street, were he also discover some labor problems. While looking for possible new locations, by 1884, the township of Tampa was in the scene and by early 1885 Martinez Ybor entered in negotiations with the Board of Trade. As a wealthy Spanish cigar manufacturer with operations in Key West and New York, by later that year began development of the industrial town of Ybor City, and eventually the transformation of the economical structure of Tampa and the state.





-Ignacio Haya (1842-1906)

_Co-owner of the Factory No. 1 in Tampa, and first in the country to make cigars from cuban tobacco known as "Clear Havana". First factory located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 15th Street, later at 2311 North 18th Street. Born in Santander, Spain on December 8, 1842. He received a Spanish education and when he was 18 years old, he entered the cigar business in Cuba. There he learned the skill of operation a cigar factory. He was one of many cigar manufacturers who departed from Cuba before or at the beginning of the "Ten Years War" of 1868-1878. when he arrived in New York, Haya established a new small cigar business, and at the same time started a partnership with a man who became his life time business partner, Mr. Serafin Sanchez. The firm Sanchez & Haya was one of the earliest producers of cigars made from Cuban tobacco, later referred to as "Clear Havana".




-Serafin Sanchez (1839-1894)

_Partner of Ignacio Haya, co-owner of the Factory No.1, located in the corner of 7th Avenue and 15th Street in Ybor City. Mr. Serafin Sanchez was born in the town of Villavisiosa, in Asturias, spain, on March 14, 1839. Not much is known about his parents and childhood, or if he has siblings, otherwise he was a very intelligent child. He was 21 years old when he arrived to New York in 1860. Was on August 7, 1866, when he first made acquaintance of Mr. Ignacio Haya, in a reception at the Spanish Club in New York. The frienship grew and on November 1867, the co-partnership between them was created. The company remained at #2 Liberty Street in New York, from May 1870 until 1886. Was on March 26, 1886 that the firm opened its factory in Ybor City. Year later t he company built a new brick facility at 2311 N. 18th Street. This company became to be Factory No. 1, when on Tuesday April 13, 1886, manufacture the first hand made cigar in Tampa. The factory closed operations in 1971.





-Eduardo Manrara (1842-1912)

_Ybor's partner, vicepresident of the Ybor City Land & Improvement Company. He was a very influential figure in the development of Ybor City, and for the local cigar industry. In 1885 he purchased a controlling interest in the Tampa Street Railway Company. He was born on August 3, 1842, in Puerto Principe, Cuba; to Ms. Carmen and Mr. Luis Manrara. Little information had been obtained about the family, aside from that he has an older brother named Luis. After studying in local schools he became a clerk in a banking house. This experience would in later years hold him in good stead with Don Vicente Martinez Ybor. This will led to a friendship and life-time partnership in business between the two men. By 1872 Mr. Manrara became parner and an active member of the company. At the same time Mr. Eduardo Ybor became also a partner member. Manrara was an excellent business partner, fluently in Spanish & English, excellent mathematician, and wise businessman. He was an influential figure in the relocation of V.M. Ybor operations from Key West and New York to Ybor City. Never or less in the development of the infrastructure to create the City of Tampa and West Tampa.

I personally call him, "The Man Forgotten by History..."





-Emilio Pons (1833-1907

_Not much is known in records about Mr. Emilio Pons childhood or his family composition, aside that his parents were Spanish nacionals living in Cuba at the time of his birth in September 7, 1833. From very young Emilio showed his interest and abilities in the world of business. In 1853 he began his small company to supply tobacco leaves to some cigae manufdacturers in Havana, Cuba. Eventually became a larger supplier of quality raw material to manufacturers now in the United States. His company during the formation of "Cigar City" was present and was one of the main raw material suppliers, especially for those who were his customers in Key West, New York and Chicago. The personal long time relationship with the Ybor family in Key West, so as with Eduardo Manrara, was which led him to be part of Ybor City and to create a cigar manufacturing company. He was a factory partner of Candido A. Martinez Ybor, (son of Vicente Martinez Ybor). His factory was located at 1702 E. 5th Avenue, and was in 1887 the first cigar company which was not moved to Tampa from another location. The company continue operating under his direction, as so a tobacco wholesale company with warehouses in Cuba, and Ybor City, with offices in New York and Tampa, until late 1902, when he decided to retire. He pass-away in New York City in 1907 at the age of 74.





-Enrique Pendas (1865-1940)

-He was born in the provice of Asturias in 1865. The town in which he was born was so small that it does not appear on any map of Spain. As many others he came to Cuba as a teenager (1879) and was amazed with the beauty of the island and the hand made cigar manufacturing. By 1886 he relocated to New York City, and was eager to learn English, therefore he had a private teacher. Withing two years he was very fluently in the language, which end up a very important part for his career in the industry in New York, Key West, Ybor City (1897) and eventually in 1909 in West Tampa. By 1902 Enrique and his cousin Jaime Pendas took control of the company after the suddently dead of Ysidro in New York.

-A cigar pioneer, and active in the Ybor City community. The firm Lozano, Pendas & Company was based in New York before opening operations in Tampa. His brother Ysidro Pendas was one of the founders of the company. He served as president of Centro Español, and very influential in the creation of the Centro Asturiano Hospital. The factory was located at 2301 North Albany Avenue. Mr. Enrique Pendas was one of the most succesfull and influential cigar manufacturer of his time...




-Edward Regensburg (1846-1907)

The story of this factory started in Frankfurt, Germany, when a young Edward Regensburg learned about the hand made cigar industry and decided to come to the United states with his family in mid 1876. A few years later he started his small cigar factory and obtained fame and fortune in his factory located at 169 Canal Street, New York City. Was in 1909 the company decided to open operations in Tampa, located at: 2701 North 16th Street and Columbus Drive, known as the "clock" ("el reloj"). In 1951, the factory closed its operations when it decided to relocate to Allentown, Pennsylvannia, after 44 years in Ybor City. This also put their production factory closer to the New York City company headquarters. When they closed, E. Regensberg had employed 280 cigar workers and 12 office staff.




-Jose Escalante (1851-1923)

-Jose Miguel Escalante was born in the city of Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, in May 18, 1851. The older of three siblings, and at the age of fifteen, like many of his contemporaries to avoid the military draft, he made his way to Cuba (1866) to eventually learn the craft of hand made cigars and to learn about the industry. After years of practice he moved to Key West determined to succeed on his own and to eventually have his own factory. -In 1872 he relocated to New Orleans and work for Simon Hernshein & Company. After 33 years he decided to open his own factory in 1906 together with his two brothers, Francisco and Manuel. They open their cigar company in Ybor City at 202 S. 22nd Street (Factory No. 406). The Corina brand was the first machine made cigar to have a pre-formed hole in the cap of the cigar and they were assigned a U.S. Patent for the design.




-Manuel Corral (1859-1938)

-The origin of the new company name Corral-Wodiska & Company, Inc. came about when Francisco Sierra (1863-1948) married Maria (1867-1960), the oldest of six daughters of Don Manuel Corral. He used her maiden name, Corral, to name the factory, in honor of Maria and her family. The original location of the company at first was in Key West, Florida. The second partner of the company was Edward Wodiska (1859-1938) was a "Talent Agent of Actors & Actrresses in New York, prior to getting involved in the cigar industry.

-Manuel Corral was a well known and respected hand-made cigar manufacturer in Key West, Florida in the 1890's - Factory No. 110.

- Corral Wodiska Company, (Factory No. 8) was first located on 14th Street and Michigan Avenue. Later in 1930 to a new facility at 1302-1306 N.19th Street, and also at 1604 Cleveland in West Tampa.





-Perfecto Garcia & Brothers

-The Perfecto Garcia & Brothers Cigar Company, factory located at, 2808 N. 16th Street (Factory No. 222). Their original location was at 747-749 E. 9th Street, New York City, New York ( Factory No. 1064). The firm was established in 1904, by Mr. Garcia and his four brothers. They used Cuban tobacco that was grown on their family owned farms in Cuba and cigars manufacture in their facility in Ybor City, Florida.

-They also owned over 15 cigars shops in Chicago and most of their marketing was aimed at the area. The first original wooden building was lost due to a fire and a new brick building was built in 1914.

-Note: Mr. Garcia Standing next to his "Westcott" touring car 1919 in front of his factory building.





-Francico Lozano (1850-1921)

-The firm F. Lozano, Son and Company started by 1889 by Mr. Francisco Lozano as smal factory located at 213 Pear Street, New york City, N.Y. (Factory No. 259). Then by 1905 open operations at 1408-1410 N. 21th Street in Ybor City (Factory No. 19). Faustino C. Lozano son of Francisco Lozano, Sr. took over after his father's retirement and partnered with Alejandrino Nistal, former manager of Gonzalez, Mora & Company. The company closed operations in October 1924, and their brands were sold to Gradiaz, Annis Company.





-Salvador Rodriguez (1856-1927)

-During a decade of civil war, Cuba's cigar industry was devastated, and among the refugees in 1871 was Salvador Rodriguez. When he arrive to New York he started a partnership with Celestino Palacios & Company. This oportunity transformed Salvador from a cigar maker to a maverick entrepreneur. Then in 1891, the 35 years-old joined Tampa's pioneer clear Havana entrepreneurs. First in 1891 he was located on a factory at Livingstone Avenue, at Palmetto beach on 22nd Street and 3rd Avenue. Manufacturer of "Charles The Great" brand. Later at 1310 South 22nd St. Ybor City. This factory was assigned Factory No. 409 until early 1951 when cease operations.




.Ysidro Pendas (1844-1902)

.Ysidro Pendas was born on May 7, 1844, in Salas Preiara, Asturias, Spain. He learned the cigar business at young age at the famous then La Sultana factory in Cuba. The men who would become his partners in later life also got their training in Cuba..The Pendàs-Alvarez Company was founded in 1862 in New York by Ysidro Pendàs, Miguel Alvarez, and Faustino Lozano, in the smallest possible scale. In 1864 the firm came to Brooklyn opening a cigar factory on 4th Avenue, the the following year they came to 195 Pearl Street in New York. In 1894 the company grew and opened a branch in Havana, Cuba. Ysidro Pendas died suddently on September 12, 1902 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Y. Pendas & Alvarez Cigar Company, started operations in Ybor City in 1897, and in 1909 moved to their new facility at 2301 N. Albany in West Tampa.

.Finally closed operations on December of 1918.


.Angel L. Cuesta (1858-1936)

.Angel La Madrrdi Cuesta was born in Asturias, Spain, in 1858. He arrived in Havana, Cuba, in 1873, attended school for two years, and then apprenticed as a cigar maker. He later hand made cigars in Key West and in New York. Then by 1884 opened a small factory in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1893 Cuesta moved to Tampa and set up a small cigar factory in Port Tampa. Two years later in 1895 he joined with Peregrino Rey to form Cuesta-Rey and Company, which was based in West Tampa. Cuesta would also go on organized cigar companies in Jacksonville and Havana, Cuba. Eventually Cuesta-Rey became one of the largest factory in Tampa.

.In 1915 Custa Rey Cigar Co. received the royal appointment as "Purveyors of Havana Cigars to the Royal Court of Spain", granted by King Alfonso XIII.

.Mr. Cuesta resident was a Craftman Bungalow at 800 S. Willow in Old Hyde Park, was built in 1912. The property was later adquired by late Tampa Mayor Curtis Hixon.

.Mr. Cuesta died in 1936 at the age of 77. In show of respect, Tampa's cigar factories closed for the day.





.Peregrino Rey (1863-1920)

.Peregrino Rey was born in Galicias, Spain in 1863, he arrived to Havana, Cuba as a young teen and apprenticed as a cigar maker. After that in 1885, he found work at the cigar factory in the Four Corners area in Atlanta, Georgia. At that time the factory belonged to another rising tabaquero from Spain, Angel Cuesta.

.Their frienship continue until the growing cigar industry in Tampa, later in 1893 became co-owner of Cuesta-Rey Cigar Company, with operations in Ybor City and West Tampa. In 1889 he married Fanny Rey, from Tennesse in New York City. They bear three sons, Ignacio, Charley and Peregrino Jr. - and a daughter, Consuelo, all of them born in Georgia. (Information according to 1910 US Census).

.Peregrino Rey became involved in the politics of the City of West Tampa, which incorporated in 1895. By 1900, he was elected to its City Council. He held his counciil seat until 1909, when he was elected mayor. After two-years term, he returned to the council and served on it until his death in 1920.

.In 1959 J.C. Newman bought the Cuesta-Rey brand in 1959.










This are some of the buildings of the first industry in Tampa...


..................Andres Dias Cigar Co.. ... .....................................................Morgan Cigar Co.



....................Corina Cigar Factory ..............................................................Corral & Wodiska Cigar & Co.



................V. Martinez - Manrara Cigar Company ...................................A. Santaella & Company Cigar Factory



...................Berriman - Morgan Cigar Company ........................................ Bustillo Brothers Cigar Company



................Perfecto Garcia Cigar Company..................................................Cuesta Rey Cigar Company


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............. Cyrilla Cigar Company .................................................................Garcia & Vega Cigar Company


...................Oliva Monett Cigar Company ................................................................ E. Regensburg Cigar Company








Source: City of Tampa Records - "Once Upon a Time in Tampa" - 2014 - "Cigar City Architecture and Legacy" - 2015 - Author: W. Reyes, Ph.D.




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