Three years after the 1821 purchase of Florida from Spain, Fort Brooke became the first permanent, modern settlement on the site of present-day Tampa, and a new life began for settlers on Florida’s rich gulf coast. By 1855, it was incorporated as the city of Tampa.
Continuing its rich, diverse, cultural, and ethnic heritage, Tampa has become the nation’s 54th-largest metropolitan community. Its abundant history is uniquely told with a leisurely stroll through the city’s historic cemeteries.
Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa’s first public burial ground, was created in 1850 when Tampa had only 500 residents. There, one can find governors, senators, mayors, lawyers, doctors, pirates, and thieves—all of whom have a story to tell. By the late 1800s, some of Tampa’s most prominent citizens were buried in newly formed cultural and social club burial grounds.
Highlights of Tampa’s Historic Cemeteries:
• Myrtle Hill and the Garden of Memories
• Rodeph Sholom, Beth (Bet) Israel, and Schaarai Zedek
• Centro Asturiano Memorial Park, Centro Asturiano (Old), and El Centro Espanol
• L’Unione de Italiana
• Mary Help of Christians School
Authors Shelby Jean Roberson Bender and Elizabeth Laramie Dunham have both enjoyed years devoted to preserving the history and heritage of the Tampa Bay area. Shelby’s interest in genealogy and Liz’s professional background in museums and archives development and management have led to more than 20 years of collaboration on history projects.
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.