Tampa is a city in and the county seat of Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area. The city had a population of 346,037 in 2011.
The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Safety Harbor culture (most notably the Tocobaga and the Pohoy, who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay). The area was explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, resulting in violent conflicts and the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out the original native cultures. Although Spain claimed Florida as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony in the Tampa area, and there were no permanent American or European settlements within today’s city limits until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1819.
Tampa displays a wide variety of architectural designs and styles. Most of Tampa’s high rises demonstrate Post-modern architecture. The design for the renovated Tampa Museum of Art, displays Post-modern architecture, while the city hall and the Tampa Theatre belong to Art Deco architecture. The Tampa mayor Pam Iorio made the redevelopment of Tampa’s downtown, especially residential development, a priority. Several residential and mixed-development high-rises have been constructed. Another of Mayor Iorio’s initiatives was the Tampa Riverwalk, a mixed use path along the Hillsborough River in downtown and Channelside (Channelside was recently approved to undergo major renovations by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik along with other investors). Several museums are part of the plan, including new homes for the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Children’s Museum, and the Tampa Museum of Art. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has continued these developments.
The Sulphur Springs Water Tower, a landmark in Sulphur Springs section of the city, dates back to the late 1920s. This boom period for Florida also saw the construction of an ornate movie palace, the Tampa Theatre, a Mediterranean revival on Davis Islands, and Bayshore Boulevard, which borders Hillsborough Bay from downtown Tampa to areas in South Tampa. The road has a 6-mile (10 km) continuous sidewalk on the eastern end, the longest in the world.
The Ybor City District is home to several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Notable structures include El Centro Español de Tampa, Centro Asturiano de Tampa and other social clubs built in the early 1900s.
Babe Zaharias Golf Course in the Forest Hills area of Tampa has been designated a Historical Landmark by the National Register of Historic Places. It was bought in 1949 by the famous ‘Babe’, who had a residence nearby, and closed upon her death. In 1974, the city of Tampa opened the golf course to the public. The Story of Tampa, a public painting by Lynn Ash, is a 4-by-8-foot (1.2 m × 2.4 m) oil on masonite mural that weaves together many of the notable aspects of Tampa’s unique character and identity. It was commissioned in 2003 by the city’s Public Art Program and can be found in the lobby of the Tampa Municipal Office Building. Park Tower (originally the First Financial Bank of Florida) is the first substantial skyscraper in downtown Tampa. Completed in 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in Tampa until the completion of One Tampa City Center in 1981. The Rivergate building, a cylindrical building known as the “Beer Can building”, was featured in the movie “The Punisher”.
Tampa Florida is a city with a rich history and definitely worth a visit.