Time For West Tampa - Albany Avenue - Page 1

Turn right onto Cherry Street off Howard Avenue and you get a glimpse of this majestic tower.  From a block away, you get the immediate sensation that something spectacular must be at the foot of this tower.






2301 N. Albany

Pendas & Alvarez cigar factory
Regensburg cigar factory

This factory was built around 1905 to 1909 and was designed by Fred J. James. It had clocks on all four of the eight sides of its seven-story water tower and accommodated 700 workers of the Pendas y Alvarez Cigar Company which had been in business since 1897 at 1416 Spring St. in Tampa.  The company moved here in May of 1909.  The factory closed during the general strike in 1910, and then reopened in January of 1911, and finally closed in December of 1918.  Pendas y Alvarez produced such brands as La Mia, Webster, Farragut, Flor de Y Pendas, and Alvarez.  (source "West Tampa Historical Trail."





Fred J. James, Architect

Fred J. James was a Canadian (born c.1870 - died Apr. 11, 1932) who came to Florida some time around 1885 and became an architect. Around 1890 he married Elizabeth and had a son Fred Leslie James around 1895. 


In addition to the Pendas y Alvarez cigar factory, Fred J. James designed the Carnegie Tampa Free Library,  (also known as the Exceptional Children Education Center) constructed in 1916, which served as Tampa's main library until 1968.  Located at 102 E. 7th Avenue, it was one of 10 Florida Carnegie libraries to receive grants awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1901 to 1917. 


James also designed the El Centro Espaņol (1912) and Sicilian Club (1929) of West Tampa on Howard Avenue. He was also involved in the design of the Thom McAn Store (1927) on Franklin Street and the beautiful 2-story Le Claire Apartments (1926) at 3013-3015 San Carlos in a Masonry Vernacular style. The building has two mirror-image wings connected by a passage on the second floor and includes a stucco-covered arcade. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and was used in the outdoor views of the home of the child character in the Burt Reynolds movie Cop and a Half. 


See also El Centro Espanol and Sicilian Club at TampaPix.




westtampa06cigarfactoryalbany4.jpg (104739 bytes)The building was then purchased by E. Regensburg and Sons on May 20, 1920.  

Read about the 1921 hold-up attempt on an E. Regensburg pay car carrying over $20,000 in cash and see photos of this factory and their Ybor City factory.  The Hillsborough Box Company bought this factory in 1946 and in 2007 was the home of Tampa Tarp and Florida Umbrella.

Cick to see close up

of the clock tower


An excellent history of Tampa, including West Tampa, is Steve Rajtar's 2007 book, "A Guide to Historic Tampa".  It is organized by time period and grouped by geographical location which allows you to follow a route through the historic areas to view the sights.  Preview this book at Google



Read an excellent article with great pictures about the cigar industry and the effects of the frequent labor unrest in Tampa.



Albany Ave. 1    Albany Ave. 2


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