Cigar History in Tampa

 

Why do we ship in a cigar box?

Our customers are pleasantly surprised when they receive an Ella Bing package for the first time. All of our products ship in real, wooden cigar boxes. Many ask why...the first answer is simple, presentation. But the second answer is a bit more interesting. Here is a brief history lesson of Cigar City. 

Tampa is rich in cigar history. Ybor City was founded in 1885, lead by Vicente Martinez-Ybor

Vicente Martinez Ybor, one of the most significant figures in the history of cigar making in Florida, established a cigar factory in Key West in 1869. Ybor had run a very successful cigar manufacturing business in Cuba, but he fled the country after colonial authorities discovered his connections with revolutionaries.

In 1885, he moved his cigar making operation from Key West to Tampa. Steamships could bring tobacco leaves from Cuba for the cigar factories, and Henry Plant's new railroad connected the small town of Tampa to the rest of the country. The area around the cigar factories grew and became known as Ybor City.

Immigrants came not just from Cuba, but from Italy, Spain, and throughout Eastern Europe and Latin America in search of work. At its height in the 1880s, there were more than 100 factories in Key West. By 1910, there were 150 factories in the Tampa area employing more than 10,000 workers. Of the 50,000 residents of Tampa, 14,000 were Cuban, 7,500 were Spanish, and 1,500 were Italian.