West Tampa Factory & History Time-line

1900 - 1905

This were the first five years of the new century and the city is growing in importance as a center of cigar manufacturing. Major manufacturers had relocated and the population of the city keep growing. The city infrastructure was greatly improved during this time making the relocation more attractive to the manufacturers.

Click years to see different time lines ..................

Seal of West Tampa 1895 - 1925


George N. Benjamin








A. Santaella Cigar, Co.





1900 - Turn to a new Century, and new hopes, and challenges to the city, and Hon. George N. Benjamin, Mayor of West Tampa. The arrival of hundreds of workers from Cuba, Spain, Italy and Sicily thronged to the area. So far since 1892 sixty-three (63) companies beging in operations, and most of them still present with a population of 8,790 residents. The avearage salary in Tampa is $ 15.00 a month, the President of the United States is William McKinley (1897-1901).
Monday February 12, 1900 - Antonio Santaella and Company moved to West Tampa, with a labor force of 100 workers. The company moved to a frame building in Armina Avenue. They produced its popular Flor Mia and Optimo brands. The company later relocated to a brick building at the corner of Howard Avenue and Pine Street, and later (1904) to a new brick building at the corner of Armina Avenue and Chestnut Street, this new building had the latest amenities and space for 300 workers. The company was among the most profitable in the Tampa area.

Tuesday May 15, 1900 - Robert Sullivan Cigar Co. opened at 1124 Laurel Street , later in1924 moved to 2929 LaSalle Street.

Thursday May 17, 1900 - El Nacional Cigar Co. started operations in a building located 230 Spruce Street. Their brand was know as "King of the Smokers".

Monday September 10, 1900 - Presiliano C. Fernandez Cigar Co. also became part of the business community whe he opened its factory at 1400 Howard Avenue.
1901 - In less than a decade the city had gone from a remote rural area of isolated swamps, and citrus groves to being a mayor player. Over 7,000 workers with an annual payroll of $ 3.5 million dollars with 151 factories between West Tampa (110) and Ybor (41). With a production of over one million dollars a month. Hon. Francisco Milian is the new Mayor of West Tampa.

Monday March 4, 1901 - Genaro Hernandez Co. moved from New York, to a building located at Chestnut and North Bloulevard. Later in the year created a partnership with Ambrosio Benitez Cigar Co. in the same location.

Tuesday March 5, 1901 - Today during a City Council Ceremony, H.B. Lackey became the first policeman of West Tampa.

FridayAugust 2, 1901 - A general strike was called by "La Resistencia" against Cuesta-Rey Company. The issue was the company's Jacksonville branch factory where workers were paid below the wages scale for Tampa workers.

Thursday October 3, 1901 - Workers back to work after level of violence increased for weeks between owners and workers, but preassure of local business men ended the strike.

Tuesday October 29, 1901 - Lara's Cigar Company joined the list of manufacturers, when when Mr. John Lara opened a factory on the corner of 10th Avenue (N. Boulevard) and Chesnut Street.

Saturday November 16, 1901 - Robert Sullivan Cigar, Co. started operations in a building located at 1144 Laurel Street. Later relocated to 2929 LaSalle Street.
1902 - West Tampa mayor is Hon. Francisco Milian and his main goal this year was to bring more manufacturers to the city and improve the infrastructure. Special offers had being made to manufacturers to stimulate relocation. Electricity and telephone service were installed at the City Hall and the City Council office. Also the police force was expanded by two officers, each were paid $40.00 a month.
Monday February 3, 1902 - W. Stachelberg & Co. open operations in West Tampa. (Later the company is relocated to Ybor City).

Wednesday June 4, 1902 - Havana Cigar, Co. started operations at 58-60 19th (Rome) Avenue.

  • Also this date El Burello Cigar Company stareted operations in West Tampa, unknow adress).

Wednesday June 11, 1902 - Monroe Cigar Co. started (unknown exact address).

Wednesday July 16, 1902 - Andre & Bros. Cigar Co. relocated from Ybor City (unknown exact address).
Wednesday October 15, 1902 - Laureano Sanchez & Co. moved from New York to a location at 1615 Armina Avenue. The company started with 50 workers under the direction of Mr. Manuel Hernandez. (In the "Great West Tampa Fire of 1904, the building was destroyed, and company never re-covered.
Monday Nov. 3, 1902 - Leopold Powell Cigar, Co. opened a branch in West Tampa at the corner of Armina Ave. and Walnut Street.
Thursday December 11, 1902 - West Tampa Title & Paving Co. obtained a contract from the City of West Tampa for the next year (1902) street and sidewalk improvements project.

1903 - Monday January 5, - Leopold Powell Cigar, Co. purchased the A. Santaella building at Howard Ave. and Pine Street. (Later in 1906 the company closed operations and sold to San Martin & Leon, Co.)

  • Today the West Tampa Fire Department started as a paid department from the city.
Monday March 9, 1903 - A revolution in progress for West Tampa when electricity was installed in factories. (Unknown who was the first factory).
Wednesday July 8, 1903 - V. Guerra, Diaz & Co. started operations in a building located at Armina Avenue & Oak Street.
Thursday July 16, 1903 - Cosio, Cortez & Company moved from Chicago to a building located at #58 Rome Avenue.
Friday August 7, 1903 - Caro & Company started production with 200 workers at the corner of Armina Avenue and Pine Street.
Monday August 24, 1903 - Heineman Cigar Co., (unknown address).El Alba Cigar, Co. , (unknown address). and Valeriano Celaya Cigar Co.(unknown address).
Sunday September 13, 1903 - West Tampa was hit by a destructive hurricane, creating damages to buildings and homes in the area, and three persons died.
Monday November 2, 1903 - J.M. Martinez & Company purchased the three story frame La Compañia Dominguez Factory located at Armina Avenue and Spruce Street.
1904 - Wednesday February 3, - J.M. Martinez & Co. moved their operations to the factory that they adquired months before at Armina an Spruce Street. The building was destroyed by fire next day April 4th. Later company relocated to unknow location.

Thurday March 3, 1904 - During the City Council meeting was reported that the city had 14 miles of paved street, 8 officers of police with 24 hours a day patrol, 9 firemen, and a annual Tax Revenue of $73,750.00 a year. Tampa Tribune - Morning

Friday March 4, 1904 - Antonio Santaella Cigar, Co. moved to a new brick building at the corner of Armina and Chestnut Street.

Monday April 4, - at 1:15 PM in a building, located on Pine Street near Howard Avenue the "Great West Tampa Fire" started. Over two city blocks with 130 building in an area of 25 acres were reduce to ashes, and ove 1,000 residents lost there houses, over 800 lost their jobs. (Click here to see more..)

  • Today started in operation the firstpower plant that lead to electrification of all the city buildings, such as Jail, mayor's office,and city hall.

Saturday June 18, 1904 - A strike hit West Tampa cigar industry but this time came not from the cigarmakers, but from the workers who made the boxes for the finished cigars. The upheaval disrupted virtually all of the West Tampa factories, and hundred of workers were fired. Among the factories burned J.M. Martinez Co., Antonio Santaella Cigar, Co., A.M. Barraco Cigar, Co., Caro & Company, Leopold Powell Cigar, Co., so as many others.

  • Today's started construction of the house of Mr. Estanislao O'Halloran and his brother Mr. Blas F. O'Halloran, the one and a half-story house is located at 2530 Main Street. (The house was completed after 10 months).
Wednesday August 17, 1904 - Landfield Brothers & Co. of New York relocated to the Armina Avenue plant formerly occupied by Guerra, Diaz & Co.
Tuesday September 6, 1904 - Garcia, Fernandez & Co. started operations in West Tampa factory located on LaSalle Street.
September 17, 1904 - Samuel I. Davis Co. moved to a brand new building at the corner of Howard Avenue and Nassau Street. (see photo)
Monday November 19, 1904 - Balbin Brothers Cigar, Co. moved its manufacturing operations and 100 workers to the A. Santaella building at Howard Ave. and St. John Street. (On Oct. 2, 1910 during a general strike the factory burned.
Friday November 25, 1904 - H.C. Guinert Co. begin manufacturing in a building located at 276 North Boulevard.
1905 - Only six companies opened for business.
Monday March 13, 1905 - Cuesta-Rey Cigar Co. purchased land adjacent to the factory (corner of Howard Avenue and Beech Street) and started today contruction of houses for its workers. Also a large brick building was built nearby to house stores, a restaurant, and entertaintment facilities.

Wednesday May 10, 1905 - G.B. Greeson and Company at the corner of Albany Avenue and Lemon Street. The company relocated from Ybor City in were started in 1902.

  • Thursday May 11, 1905 - The City Council during their meeting aprove a motion to expand the fire department with the addition of two more full-time firemen and to adquire a horse and a pull wagon.
Tuesday October 17, 1905 - A. Symonett and Bros. of key West, moved to a three story frame factory at 58-60 Rome Avenue with 50 workers.
Thursday November 2, 1905 - the Morgan Cigar Co. moved from Seattle to a small factory on the corner of Fremont Avenue and Arch Street. (In 1907 the company moved to a new building located at the corner of Howard Avenue and St. Louis Street, and in 1910 to the Berriman Bros. Cigar Co. building at LaSalle Street and Howard Avenue. In this location they can accomodate up to 1,000 workers.
Monday December 4, 1905 - Presiliano C. Fernandez Cigar Co. reopen operations in West Tampa (unknown exact location) 1617 Armina Avenue??.

Reference: Tampa Tribune Archives, University of South Florida Archives, Tobacco Journal, Hillsborough County Public Records. B.A.T.F. License Records Archives. - "Cigar City Architecture and Legacy" - 2015 - Author - Resercher: W. Reyes, Ph.D.

Trademark & copyrights reserved©GHC - 1996 - 2016


<<< Back......Top........Next >>>


Francisco Milian










Leopold Powell Cigar Co. - Label - 1902
Arguelles, Lopez& Hno. - 1903
USA-CUBA - Label
Samuel I. Davis Co. - 1904







"Victor Hugo" - O'Halloran Label - 1905