All cities value and revere their histories. But it’s especially noteworthy and relevant for a city such as Tampa, a city where most people are not from here. Where locals’ roots are as likely to be Chicago or Philadelphia as Seminole Heights or Hyde Park. Where knowing the history of where you live can be both a learning and a bonding experience.
That’s why Tampa’s Historical Monument Trail along the Riverwalk is so important. With the recent addition of six more busts, honoring noteworthy individuals who have helped shape the history of Tampa and Hillsborough County, there are now 30 such monuments. They are diverse–Anglo, Black, Hispanic, female and male–reminders of who we are and who came before us. In short, how we got here.
“The Trail allows us to remember and honor those who were so committed and dedicated to moving our community forward,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn at the unveiling ceremony. “It is a place where our citizens not only connect along this incredible Riverwalk, but they will also be able to connect to one another through shared history that brought them to it.”
Indeed, cities can’t realize their potential unless they have an understanding and appreciation of their past, their identity. Tampa, more than most, needs such a venue. Tampa, more than most, has a fascinating back story to share–from historic Ybor City to an ever-evolving, new-urbanism downtown.
And for the record, the six historical additions include a certain Ybor City lector/tri-lingual newspaper founder who continues to leave his mark on this city. For readers of La Gaceta, the name and legacy of Victoriano Manteiga are familiar.