The flames were first seen breaking from windows in the second story room of a boarding house run by Antonio Diaz at 12th Avenue & 20th Street.  It was reported that the entire building was one mass of flames long before the fire department arrived.  A stiff wind blowing from the east caused the fire to race westward, "seizing upon the small frame buildings and feeding upon them as upon so much tinder."  The entire fire department and hundreds of volunteers could not contain the flames and they quickly spread toward 16th Street and northward to Michigan Avenue (today's Columbus Drive.)

This is a short portion of the front page article.  Click it to read the whole article, it is long.  When it opens, click it again to see it full size.


Photos above and below are courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: A Crowd watches La Trocha Cigar Factory engulfed in flames during the Ybor City Fire of 1908 from 12th Avenue and 17th Street North.
 There was no such factory or company as "La Trocha."  This was the Stachelberg cigar factory and the "La Trocha" sign seen below it marks a building immediately before it which was a restaurant, not a cigar factory.

The above photo also has a general note:  "The scene was taken from 12th Avenue and 17th Street looking North.
In the center appears the La Trocha Cigar Factory with it's clock tower being consumed by flames."

(Not La Trocha cigar factory.  The writer was mislead by the signage.)


Closer inspection of the photos show a tower of a cigar factory with a building and a sign "La Trocha" blocking the view of the factory so that only the factory's upper stories and clock tower are visible above it.  Below, the caption comes from the Pizzo collection of photos at UF.


The 1903 map below is oriented with north to the left.  The above fire photos are said to be taken from 17th St. and 12th Avenue looking north.  That area is marked with a red rectangle below.  The red dashed line is the approximate centerline of the photo and the pink shading is the approximate angle of view.  In 1903 there were several vacant properties and some properties with dwellings in the area.  At some time between the making of the 1903 map and the March 1, 1908 fire, there were many new structures built, probably where the green rectangles are shown, judging by the foreground buildings in the photos. 

Notice that across the street at extreme right of the first photo (wide view) can be seen what appears to be a park or plaza.  The St. Joseph's convent property would have been situated there.  The "La Trocha" sign in the photos would have been situated where seen below in green and would have been built between 1903 and the fire in 1908.

The factory in view is actually the Stachelberg cigar factory.



There are plenty of mentions of the Stachelberg cigar company and factory in the Tampa Tribune for this period. The Tribune carried ads for their cigars. According to his 1904 Tribune article,  it was managed by former Tampa Mayor Herman Glogowski when they moved their entire operations to Tampa from New York, to their "present large brick factory, known as the 'clock factory.'"








Notice the factory was 3 stories with a 4-story tower at front center.  Their fire fighting equipment consisted of buckets of water throughout the factory.

The only mention of La Trocha that could be found at any time in Tampa's newspapers was a mention in a damage assessment of the fire, and it is a restaurant.












At Left:  Part of the PIzzo collection at UF is a photo of this map of 1908 showing the area of fire destruction.   The Stachelberg Cigar factory is shown in the red rectangle.   Here, a structure can bee seen just south of the factory, marked here in green.  This is the location where the building obstructing the view of the factory, and showing the sign "La Trocha," would have been so it would appear as it did in the fire photos.  The X marks the approximate location from where the photos were taken. The 1908 map was created to show the fire damaged area, so not much else was drawn outside of it.


Notice the area is more developed in 1908 than it was on the 1903 map shown below.






Although not specifically mentioned as being named "La Trocha," these articles indicate that it was a brick building built in 1905 by Tampa liquor dealer and hotel/saloon/bowling alley owner Robert Mugge.  The building is described as being on the same block as the Stachelberg factory. ("La Trocha" is Spanish for a line of fortifications, usually rough, constructed to prevent the passage of an enemy across a region.  It can also mean a shortcut, path or trail.)  The 1905 construction year fits in with it not being on the 1903 map, but appearing on the H. M. Estrada fire damage map above for 1908.



Below is a 1903 Sanborn map of Ybor City.  La Trocha Restaurant has been added where a building was indicated on the above Estrada map.  The X marks the approximate location where the Pizzo collection photo was taken from.  The fire damaged area is enclosed by the orange dashed line.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: A Horse-drawn fire engine roars to the scene of one of the many breakouts during the Ybor City Fire of 1908.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: People view the Ybor City Fire from a distance.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: People look from the railroad track near the Florida Brewing Company and the Ybor City Ice Works at the Ybor Fire of 1908

The tall building is the brewery, the building to the left of it is the Ybor Ice Works.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: People stand along a protective brick wall looking at the Ybor City Fire of 1908.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: Fire consumes a wooden structure just feet from the brick Pierce Building.

Notice the steam-powered pumper fire truck at center foreground. It was probably the "Elmore Webb."

The above photo has a general note:  A massive fire in 1908 was "the worst of the worst,'' Ybor City took the blow with 18 blocks leveled on Sunday, March 1.  Losses exceeded $1 million, and 171 homes burned, along with 42 business buildings and five cigar factories. Half of the losses were covered by insurance. When neighbors saw the fire approaching, they piled their furniture and possessions into the streets, hoping to save them. "But the flames jumped from the houses to the furniture, and with a hefty wind it spread the fire that much more,'' Firefighters were hampered by low water pressure from Tampa Waterworks. The problem became an issue in the aftermath, with critics questioning whether the private utility favored its other customers at the expense of Ybor City. 



This photo is from the Burgert Bros. collection at the Hillsborough County Public Library System, but the Burgert catalog describes it as  La France horse drawn steam piston pumper, named Elmer [sic] Webb, assigned to Station 4 of the Tampa Fire Department.  But articles from the time it was purchased, tested, and went into service show it was a Nott engine, not a La France, and it was first assigned to Station No. 1.


 Click the article on the left to see the full test results. 


A very dangerous fire occurred on Franklin St. on May 23, 1905 which involved the Tampa Light Infantry Armory building, owned by the Anheuser Busch Brewing Assoc., Robert Mugge's Armory Saloon, the Gordon pawn shop, and the J. W. Jones "Bee Hive" store at Franklin & Cass St.  Thousands of rounds of ammunition fired off in the blaze, a wall and ceiling collapsed, and a handful of fireman were injured.  Several firemen are named in this article, as well as the Elmore Webb fire engine on the scene.  The fire started in the Bee Hive store when the chief clerk struck a match to light a gasoline lamp.

 Click the article at left to read it in its entirety.


In late Dec. 1905, it was decided that THREE horses would pull the Elmore Webb, as two were found to be inadequate.

In Jan. 1908, a new fire engine was purchased from the Nott company; it was the largest yet made by Nott.  Once it was assembled and ready to use at Station No. 1,  the Elmore Webb was given a complete overhaul and was then sent to Station 2 in Ybor City--not a moment too soon.  No "official christening" took place for the new truck.  A ceremony was to be held at the state fair but the city council and Mayor Frecker were to have other matters to take care of that day and it was feared that the new engine "would prove but a minor attraction compared with the wonders contained in the acres comprising the state fair grounds."


Below: TFD took delivery of a custom-built truck designed by Chief Tucker Savage.  It was for use at the Hyde Park station.

The Nott Co. steam pumper "Major Wright" in front of Station No. 1 circa 1908-1911. 


Photo courtesy of Capt. Bill Townsend's "Tampa's Bravest" website.

Notice three horses were needed to pull this truck, being even heavier and larger than the "Elmore Webb."


Tampans rose quickly to the crisis by meeting on the afternoon of March 2 at the Spanish Casino in Ybor to form a central relief committee.  Their goal was to devise a plan so that funds and supplies could be quickly and fairly distributed.  A relief committee, an investigating committee (to assess and verify the need) and officers were named.

Click the articles on the left and right to read them in their entirety.

In 2021 dollars the rate of destruction was about $933/sec.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: A View looking on 19th Street looking west on 12th Avenue after the Ybor City Fire of 1908.



The Chamber of Commerce met to take steps to raise funds for the relief of the fire vicitims, and the committee formed by Tampa businessmen quickly received $3,000 in donations by March 3.

Click the article on the right to see the list of contributors and amounts.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: The Aftermath of the Ybor City Fire of 1908.

The above photo has a general note:
"A $600,000 conflagration at Tampa, Fla.. General view of the burned section, fifty five acres...
in area were destroyed and hundreds of persons were made homeless"
- C.E. Lambright, Florida.



Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: The Aftermath of the Ybor City Fire of 1908.

The above photo has a general note:
The great fire of 1908, which leveled 18 city blocks, destroyed dozens of factories, shops and homes, and led to an overhaul of the city's firefighting systems.  (There was inadequate water pressure to put out the blaze early). Frightened residents huddled in the street next to piles of their possessions, firefighters dynamiting buildings in an (unsuccessful) attempt to stop the spread of the fire and a horse, engulfed in flames, escaped from its stall and running down the street shrieking in pain.


Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: The Aftermath of the Ybor City Fire of 1908.


A cigar maker, Arthur Brooks, at the Stachelberg factory was sent back into the burning building to retrieve "certain books which the management greatly desired."  On his way back out, he was blocked by a "solid sheet of flame."  As he was looking for a way of escape, he heard a man calling for someone to save him.  Brooks called back that he himself could not find a way out and then jumped out a window from the 2nd story.  Brooks was seriously injured, and immediately afterward the factory walls collapsed.  It was thought that the man calling for help was burned to death but a through search afterward resulted in no one reported missing.



Mayor Frecker agreed with the fire department, stating that the water pressure was below what was needed and below what was supposed to be supplied by the waterworks company.  The superintendent of the waterworks disagreed, stating that no waterworks system could have supplied sufficient water pressure when the demand reached as high as it did at this fire, and that everything possible was done to provide as much water and physically possible to Ybor City.


Described as: People evaluate the aftermath of the Ybor City Fire of 1908.

This is the ruins of the Stachelberg Cigar factory, with the site of

La Trocha Restaurant to the right of it, behind the people.

Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.




The people of Tampa, its clubs, and organizations all rose to the occasion to help the victims of the fire.  Not all victims were people who lived in Ybor City who lost their homes, many were factory workers, restaurant workers, and employees of the many business who lost their jobs because of the fire's destruction, but lived outside of Ybor City.



Judge Evans and his wife decided to skip their trip to Havana and donate the funds they would have spent to the fire sufferers.  Businesses were donating a percentage of proceeds, Hillsborough County donated $500 to the relief fund, matching that of the City of Tampa's donation.  The first of the fire victims received $3 worth of groceries based on the size of his family.  All these may not seem like much to us, but $500, 5 cents, and $3 in 1908 is like $14,143, $1.41, and $85 today in 2021.  The relief fund wasn't just for those who lost property in the fire, it was also for those who had lost employment due to the fire.  The Mar. 4 article say 250 people had received enough food to last them a week.





The fire and also brought out the bad and ugliness in some people--looting, burglary, taunting, price gouging, and opportunism.

A man was arrested for robbing a house while the family was out in the street trying to get help in hauling their household effects to safety.

Young men in a car at 7th Ave. and 16th St. nearly cause a riot when they laughed and made disparaging remarks at the pitiful plight of an old woman who had saved nothing but two pillows from the fire; her home was destroyed.  The article says they all seemed to be "more or less under the influence of liquor."  Some cigar makers in the area resented the remarks and "in a few moments considerable excitement prevailed."    The driver had "sufficient presence of mind to move on...out of reach of the angry Cubans."


Jacobs placed his ad multiple times on a page, on multiple pages.  After just about every article of the fire there was a Jacobs ad.  As for the photos, it's possible some of these are in this feature.



Just three days after the disastrous fire, over half of the cigar makers who lost their jobs were expected to be back at work, and by the end of thhe next week, it was expected that even more would be working then were before the fire.  Stachelberg took up temporary quarters in the factory formerly occupied by Ramon Fernandez and was expected to resume operations this day.

Edgar Stachelberg claimed that plans were already in the making to rebuild the factory on the same site and that it would be the finest cigar factory in the world.

Factory managers claim they did not overestimate the losses by the factories, it was expected to top $1 million, but there was considerably more insurance on them than first thought.  Many insurance reps believed the total insurance losses would not go over $200k, but Gunby & Spafford estimated $450k.

Apparently, Stachelberg changed his mind about rebuilding on the same site, or maybe even rebuilding at all in Tampa or Ybor City.  The 1915 Sanborn map of 14th Avenue & 17th Street shows a wood frame "El Canatabrico Hotel" was built on the factory site, nothing on the La Trocha Restaurant site, and a large Sanchez & Haya factory on the west side of 17th Street.  However, the former Stachelberg block was then called the "Stachelberg subdivision." 


The Ybor City fire caused a wave of suspicion and near paranoia in West Tampa as citizens began to look at every fire to be of "incendiary" origin (arson.)

West Tampa Mayor Francisco Milan was on heightened alert, even patrolling the streets himself.

At right, a man whose responsibility was to keep an eye on an area on LaSalle street, was suspected of being involved with an arson there in which "a child was burned."  Basil Guggino claimed he was sick when he turned over his badge to someone else and went home.  He was arrested, as this was "positive proof that a firebug is at work in a determined manner to raze West Tampa."

Below, on the morning of March 3, Mayor Milan found kerosene soaked rags on fire in his chicken coop, and several chickens missing.

A Cuban woman called on a property owner in order to rent one of his houses because she was told that the district in which her home was located was about to be burned.

A fire at the Seidenberg factory was determined to be arson after first being attributed to faulty wiring.  After inspection of the wiring, it was discovered that there were no wires within twelve feet of where the fire started.


A record-setting seven fires in five days started the month of March, 1908 in Tampa.  Although the above article didn't reveal it, the one below says a woman and her two children were casualties of the fire on LaSalle Street.  The cause of two fires below were described and not due to arson.


On Mr. 5, 1908, the City Council was to meet to discuss the annulment of their contract with the waterworks company based on the company's failure to carry out its guarantee of minimum water pressure under any circumstances.  Stewart Wood, the treasurer of the waterworks, stated that many obstacles, including recent litigation, had impeded its progress but that many improvements had been made in the previous years despite lack of sufficient revenue.  He also stated that the stockholders of the company for many years had not realized one penny of dividends from their stock because of this.  The article describes in detail the specific improvements they made and that all income, except $6,000 a year in interest, had been expended in making improvements.  It was the general opinion on the street that the waterworks had succeeded in upholding their responsibilities, and that it was going to be difficult for the City to show otherwise.  It was believed that the company had a solid defense as it did when litigation was brought against it to reduce its rates--the company has never realized a profit.

The article below has been shortened, with the list of improvements removed.  Click it to see the full article.

Eventually, the City went to the State Supreme Court with the waterworks matter, and the case still had not yet been decided by the time of the June 1908 elections in Tampa.  The issue with the waterworks was big ammunition for Frank Wing, with M. B. Macfarlane calling Frecker a liar and an anarchist.  It was an election that Mayor Frecker lost to Frank Wing. 

BELOW:  Excerpts from Frank Wing's first campaign rally.  M. B. Macfarlane was Matthew Biggar Macfarlane.


Matthew Biggar Macfarlane, a native of Scotland and brother of Hugh C. Macfarlane, was educated in the northern United States.  He was a lawyer and later served as Collector of Customs for the District of Tampa.  M.B. Macfarlane was also quite prominent in Florida’s Republican Party, and would be an unsuccessful mayoral candidate in 1895 and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1900 and 1904.

Photo from "Men of the South" A work for the newspaper reference library, D. D. Moore, 1922.



On July 7, 1908, the Florida Supreme Court denied Tampa's petition and ruled that the waterworks company did not breach is contract in regard to supplying sufficient water pressure.  The decision came as no surprise, as the waterworks had done all they possibly could to maintain and improve the system over the years.  The decision also affected any private lawsuits in the Circuit Court against the waterworks for damages caused by the fire.  The City Attorney recommended the withdrawal of the suit and so the issue came to an end.




Photo below courtesy of the University of Fla. George A. Smathers Library digital collection, from the Pizzo collection.
Described as: The La Trocha Cigar Factory, once at 17th Street and 13th Avenue, destroyed in the 1908 fire.
This is actually the Stachelberg Cigar factory.  There was no "La Trocha" cigar factory or company.

This photo has been digitally restored and enhanced.



In 1902 Tampa businessmen bent over backwards to get Stachelberg to build a cigar factory on the east end of Lafayette Street between Brush and Governor Streets.  A. H. West donated six lots, which was all of block 21, to meet part of Stachelberg's demands, in order to entice them into building a $20,000 factory which would employ 600 workers.  But Edgar Stachelberg also wanted the people of Tampa to buy $10,000 of their stock.  The donated land was worth $3,000 and each lot was 70 feet of frontage.  A committee consisting of Tampa businessmen met on Mar. 19 to discuss the terms.  Other plans to entice Stachelberg were discussed, such as building a street railway line down Lafayette St. past the factory and across the Ft. Brooke property into East Tampa.  ($3,000 in 1908 is like $84,857 in 2021.)




By March of 1902 E. J. Stachelberg had already established a factory in West Tampa that was cranking out 5 million cigars a year.  He wanted to move his entire NY operations to Tampa so he was in the hunt for another location.  Another meeting was held on March 20th to discuss the sale of the stock.

The company was founded in New York City in 1857 by Michael Stachelberg and by 1902 Edgar J. Stachelberg was the president.  The NY factory was seven stories tall and made 15 million cigars annually.  Their motto was, "Costliest Because Best."

Efforts to locate the Stachelberg factory location in West Tampa on a 1903 Sanborn map and newspaper articles have been unsuccessful.





On Mar. 25 the Tribune reported that Stachelberg had decided not to build in the Drew subdivision on E. Lafayette St. and to build instead in the "Garrison" near the "Old Mound" on south Morgan St.  The Garrison was what the old Fort Brooke land was referred to in these days.  It was a separate municipality from Tampa, and consisted of the lands south of Whiting St.  The "Old Mound" was a referenced to the Indian mound in the southeast portion of the Garrison.  "We will get the factory, and you can safely say that it will be located in the Garrison" was what one of the committee members told the Tribune.  The committee consisted of land owners in the Garrison who were courting the Stachelberg Co to build in their district.






It's a pretty big deal when you can get a leading NY cigar manufacturer who is one of the biggest in the country to locate in your district.  And why wouldn't they, with free land as part of the deal?




On Apr. 15, 1902, the Tribune announced that the deal was made, the contract signed, and a general description of the building was provided:  50 ft. x 140 ft., three stories, brick.  The payroll must amount to $200k per year and in return, the committee would raise $13,500 toward the cost of the new building.  "The committee is now securing donations to the building fund.  Any amount over $5 would be accepted."  Apparently Stachelberg no longer required the sale of $10,000 of their stock and opted for funds to build the factory. ($13,500 in 1908 would be like $381,858 today in 2021.)




A month and a half passed with no more news  about that definite Stachelberg factory in the Garrison at the foot of Morgan St.  Instead, this somewhat low-key, positive-spin article is evidence that something didn't go as planned.  Maybe the committee failed to raise the $13,500 towards the cost of the building.  It appears that the free land wasn't enough enticement for Stachelberg.  Or maybe Stachelberg got an even better deal; an already-built, beautiful 3-story brick building with a 4-story tower and clock?



Edgar Stachelberg was headed back to Tampa from NYC and will oversee "the removal of the firm's business [from New York]...into new quarters in the commodious and finely appointed factory building which he recently purchased..."






By spring of 1903, their factory at 17th Street and 14th Avenue in  Ybor City was running full force.





The 1899 Sanborn map of Ybor City shows the factory was previously occupied by BLAS TRUJILLO & CO.  Here is seen the same 3-story brick factory with a 4-story tower centered on the front entrance.

It appears that at some time between April 15, 1902 and March 25, 1903, Trujillo's factory was sold to Stachelberg.  (Unless there was intermediate ownership. No article has been located to verify this.)


Perhaps this event in Aug. of 1900 had something to do with the transfer.  notice the mention of "the great clock."  But was this the former courthouse clock?








AT LEFT:  All of Tampa was shocked upon hearing of the suicide of Blas Trujillo.  This article paints a rosy picture of his personal and business life, but a follow-up article would reveal what was really going on.

This article has been edited to show only the beginning and the history of the company and building in Tampa.  There was  detail of the events of that day.



Click the article above to read it in its entirety.  CAUTION:  It is graphic.     Newspapers of this era were quite blunt and did not try to soften the impact of events such as this.
   When it opens, click it again to see it full size. 



Two days later, Blas Trujillo's funeral took place and still the Tribune believed that the "affairs of the factory were in good shape, and the usual causes which lead men to the rash act of self-destruction were entirely wanting in this case."

Nine days after Trujillo's funeral, the Tribune reported that public gossip was rife with rumors about Trujillo's motive.  Things were not as rosy as first thought.  Within two weeks of each other, Trujillo's top clients went into bankruptcy, with losses from these bad accounts totaling $75,000.  Three weeks before his suicide, one of Trujillo's top salesmen committed suicide the same way.  It was said he felt personally responsible for the many bad accounts he had contracted with, and this too weighed heavily on Trujillo's mind.  Also, business had actually been slow for quite some time; the number of employees on the payroll had been constantly decreasing and at the time of Trujillo's death the payroll amounted to only $500.

The big factory closed, and those who still worked there were now idle.  The situation was in limbo until the NY partners of the firm arrived in Tampa.  It was thought that Francisco Garcia was expressing interest in the company, but in the end, it was Stachelberg who moved in.



According to the first article that reported Trujillo's death, he came to Tampa in 1894.  The 1895 Sanborn map is the earliest to cover the area of this factory in detail.  It shows that the factory was named "Trujillo & Benemelis."


On Jun 6, 1895, the Tribune published an article on the success of the Trujillo & Benemelis factory.  It gave a brief history of the owners before coming to Tampa; both men were born in Cuba.  In 1892 they formed a partnership in New York.  In 1894 the Ybor City Land & Improvement Co. enticed them to come to Tampa.  Their first offer was to build a wood frame building for them, but Trujillo and Benemelis were willing to pay one-third the cost if it was made of brick, and so it was built of brick.

The building was completed in Feb. 1894 at a cost of $15,000 (or $1.5000 as the Tribune put it.)  "It occupies an enviable position on summit of a level tract of land in the northeastern portion of Ybor City, and in its tower the old town clock which kept time for this city many years  is placed to keep time.."





The only clock prior to 1915 that was ever referred to as the "town clock" was the one on the old county courthouse built by John Breaker.  That structure was built in 1854, but a detailed description of the new building did not mention a clock, which suggests it was not built with a clock. 

     THE TAMPA HERALD - WED., JUNE 7, 1854.
Through the kindness of Mr. [John H.] Breaker, contractor and builder of this magnificent Court House, we are enabled to furnish our readers with a full description of its order, size, various offices, etc. etc. The building is 76 ft. long, by 45 wide, and two stories high. ...A projecting Portico, an each end, the whole width of the building supported by heavy Grecian Columns. A double flight of stairs ascends from each end of the building, landing on the 2nd floor of the porticos.

The roof is mounted with a dome and tower, 18 ft in diameter, and 24 ft high, covered with tin, or zinc. The extreme height of the building, from the pinnacle of the tower to the ground is 68 feet; and the whole is being beautifully finished in a combination of the Grecian, Ionic, and Corinthian orders..."

More about Tampa's 1854 & 1891 courthouses    Also here for the 1891 courthouse




In June of 1882 the old Breaker Courthouse underwent some much needed repairs which included tearing down the old plaster and installing a ceiling in the Town Hall meeting room.  This Jun. 29, 1882 article says "Now putting up the Town Clock in the belfry is the next job, besides the painting."


In Sep. 1887 the town clock striking
mechanism was out of order.


In 1881 dentist and jeweler E. Neve ended his partnership with Dr. H. P. Jensen and sold his entire interest in the drug business to S. B. Leonardy.  Neve continued as a jeweler and dentist.



 Neve continued his jewelry business in Leonardy's drugstore.

In January 1882 E. Neve ordered the town clock from Seth Thomas of New York; it was built in Thomaston, CT.  On page 19 of the Seth Thomas tower clock installations catalog for Florida can be seen that the clock installed in the new City hall in 1915 ("Hortense") was the same model as the one that had been installed in the courthouse in 1882.  The only difference was the clock faces and dials, and probably the bell.

In preparation for a new brick courthouse, the old courthouse was sold to J. J. Kinsman and moved north on Fla. Ave. across from the Palmetto Hotel in 1891. The property was owned by Kinsman who was a blacksmith and wagon maker.  His shop and home were on the property so he first had his home moved to another location. 




The old courthouse building was used as the Magnolia House apartments in 1895.

By 1899 it became the Avenue Hotel owned by M.J. Morales and caught on fire on Dec. 4.  The fire started at the cottage next to it and spread to the roof of the hotel.   Chief A. J. Harris and five firemen worked six hoses and doused the fire in a heroic effort.  All twenty guests escaped unharmed but the top floor was gutted and the first floor drenched.  The article describes the building as three stories but they are counting the space under the roof--the attic.  The Sanborn maps show "2 ˝" stories which is how attic space was indicated.  Evidently the building was repaired because in 1903 it appears on the Sanborn maps as the Tampa Sanitarium (a hospital.)





The old courthouse clock became the Trujillo & Benemelis cigar factory clock by 1894, and later the Stachelberg clock in the same building.  Seth Thomas offered some options for the clock faces, and judging from photos of the courthouse clock and the Stachelberg clock, it appears that Trujillo & Benemelis or Stachelberg opted to get fancier faces for it.  Ultimately, the clock was destroyed in the great Ybor City fire of 1908.




Edvard Dinus Neve was born on Aug. 7, 1849 in Denmark, and was a son of Abraham Eberhardt Neve.   In August of 1871 he left from Copenhagen and sailed to America, settling in Tampa in that same year. 

Upon arriving in Tampa, Neve engaged in the jewelry business for a time, being an expert watchmaker, a trade he had learned as a boy in Denmark.  However, he became interested in dentistry and took up the study of it, making great strides in that field.  Dr. Neve was the recipient of a prize medal for the unusual excellence  of certain operations he performed at a convention of dentists of national reputation.

Dr. Edward D. Neve and wife Alicia M. Gonzalez Neve
1920 Passport application photos.

It was by this work he was best known in Tampa, and while he was engaged in it he enjoyed a very large and lucrative practice.

In 1895 he married Alicia Gonzalez;** she was born on Oct. 9, 1869 at Philadelphia, a daughter of Havana, Cuba native Prof. Guillermo P. Gonzalez, a public school teacher.  (In May 1895, Mrs. Neve was given the honor of naming a new 480-acre suburb being developed in Tampa northeast of Ybor City.  "After a search of Spanish lexicons she selected "Campobella" meaning "beautiful country.")

Later, after retiring from dentistry, he invested in citrus lands as well as city property and owned several large groves in the area, one of the finest being just beyond Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

Dr. Neve and his wife applied for passports in early June of 1920 to travel to Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and England, to leave from the Port of New York in May or June of 1921 on a vacation for six months.  At the time, they lived in Tampa at 1103 Tampa Street.

But in July, 1920, he and his wife decided to visit relatives in Denmark, and while preparing to depart from New York City, Dr. Neve had a severe attack of appendicitis on July 11 and died following an operation at St. Vincent's hospital.  He was about 70 years old.  Alicia died in Tampa in 1952.

**His obituary says he and his wife left Copenhagen in 1871, but all evidence so far indicates he was not married at the time.  He married in 1895 according to his and Alicia's censuses and passport applications.  Also, their 1910 census indicates this was the first marriage for both of them.

The above is information from Edward's obituary in the Tampa Tribune on July 17, 1920, combined with information from a May 21, 1895 Tribune article, his and his wife's passport applications and 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses.


"MEET THE FRECKERS" Prelude to a New City Hall
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