Ybor City Museum Park Celebrates Historic Roots

Tampa Bay’s Pioneer Entrepreneur Disruptor Vicente Martinez-Ybor

Ybor City Museum Park Celebrates Historic Roots!– home to Destination Tampa Bay’s pioneer entrepreneur disruptor Vicente Martinez-Ybor by honoring his great grandson with a special dedication plaque All of this was inspired by headlines and census data placing the Tampa Bay Area at the top of the list for entrepreneurs, innovation and startups, experts at the Ybor City Museum Park will celebrate the area’s pioneer disruptor and serial entrepreneur! His name: Vicente Martinez-Ybor. His arrival: 134 years ago!

A Dedication of Plaque Honoring Great-Grandson, Rafael Martinez-Ybor

Take a step back in time on Thursday, October 24, 2019, 5 pm – 8 p.m. in the garden of the Ybor City Museum Park, located at 1818 East 9th Avenue, Tampa. Enjoy unique electric violin music, light appetizers, beer and wine, presentations by noted dignitaries, a fireside chat with historian and retired Judge E.J. Salcines, and a very special visit with 90-year-old Rafael Martinez-Ybor, great-grandson of Ybor City’s founder.

Ybor City Park Museum

Rafael and event attendees are in for a surprise during the unveiling and dedication of a plaque honoring Rafael for decades of work in preserving Ybor City’s cultural heritage. The plaque, which is being kept a closely guarded secret until the unveiling, will be added to the bust of Don Vicente in the museum garden at the Ybor City Museum Park.

The cigar industry in Tampa and the city’s eventual moniker as the “Cigar Capital of the World” can be greatly attributed to Martinez-Ybor, who arrived in Tampa in 1885 at the age of 67, bringing the industry to the region and founding what is known today as Ybor City. By the turn of the 19th century, Tampa had grown from a few hundred citizens to a population of nearly 16,000, much of which can be attributed to the cigar industry. That is why a dedication ceremony will be held at the historical Ybor City Museum State Park.

“In a short span of about ten years, ‘Don Vicente’ led the way to the development and growth of a town that welcomed immigrants from Cuba, Spain, Italy, and other countries,” notes his great-grandson. “They came to work in the cigar industry or provide goods and services to those who did.”

Reservations are $20 for general admission, $10 for students with valid ID, and free to YCMS members. They can be made until October 17 Admission at the door is $25. Advance tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for students with valid ID, and free to YCMS members.  Tickets after October 17 and at the door is $25. Reservations are requested and can be made at www.YborMuseum.org or via the Ybor City Museum Society Facebook page.

Ybor City

The Ybor City Museum Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is preserving, promoting and celebrating the unique cultural heritage of Ybor City and supporting the Ybor City Museum State Park. Proceeds will benefit the continued preservation and celebration of Vicente Martinez-Ybor’s history.

More about Vicente Martinez-Ybor:

Vicente Martinez-Ybor

Vicente Martinez-Ybor was born on September 7, 1818 and passed on December 14, 1896. Mr. Ybor was a Spanish entrepreneur who first became a noted industrialist and cigar manufacturer in Cuba, then Key West, and finally Tampa, Florida.

Martinez-Ybor is best known for his founding the immigrant-populated cigar manufacturing town of Ybor City just outside Tampa, Florida in 1885. It was annexed by Tampa in 1887 and was a major factor in the community’s rapid development from a small town into one of the largest cities in Florida and, for a time, the world’s leader in cigar manufacturing.

In addition to his Principe de Gales line of Cuban cigars, he founded many other businesses in Tampa including an insurance company, street paving, gas stations, a streetcar line, and Tampa’s first brewery. For his workers, he built and sold hundreds of affordable homes, brought doctors to the area, and converted his original cigar factory into a social hall and theater for Tampa’s first mutual aid society, El Centro Español de Tampa. His business interests were integral to the rapid expansion of the Port of Tampa and Tampa’s overall economy.

When Martinez-Ybor died in 1896, much of Tampa closed down to attend his funeral. He has been honored with a statue in Ybor City and a bust on the Tampa Riverwalk. Source credit: Ybor City Museum Society (YCMS) and the Ybor City Museum Park and Wikipedia.

For more fun things to do in Ybor City check out their Saturday Market here.