FL-F382 El Circulo Cubano (Cuban Club)


Late 19th and early 20th century Cuban immigration to the United States was impressive for the craft talents brought to the country. Along with their Spanish counterparts, skilled Cuban cigarmakers made Tampa's hand-rolled cigars world-famous. As early as 1899 Cuban immigrants formed recreational societies with varying degrees of success, and in 1902 Cuban workers founded El Circulo Cubano as a mutual aid society to "bind all Cuban residents of Tampa into a fraternal group, to offer assistance and help to the sick."

When fire destroyed the first clubhouse in 1916, members initiated plans for its replacement. The present four-story, yellow brick building with Neoclassical design elements sits on the original site. Constructed in 1917, the building contained a theater, pharmacy, library, ballroom, and cantina. Imported tile, stained glass windows and elaborately carved scraffito spandrells decorated the structure, and the ballroom ceiling displayed elaborate murals. The clubhouse provided a gathering place for members and served as a unifying force in the Cuban community. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sponsored by City of Tampa, Ybor City Development Corporation and Florida Department of State, 1998

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