St. Joseph Catholic Church has been John Cinchett’s family church since 1905. It is the oldest Catholic church west of the Hillsborough River, established in 1896.

Local author John Cinchett is somewhat of an anomaly. He is a third-generation Tampa native. Like its author, Cinchett’s new history book also deviates from the expected.

In his third history book titled, Historic Tampa Churches, Cinchett features 52 of Tampa’s oldest churches spanning from the 1800s to the early 1900s. His work of art captivates readers with its engaging storylines that correspond to more than 230 vintage images.

The book was spawned after discovering that his great-grandparents also attended his place of worship, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tampa. Furthermore, the history writer’s enthusiasm for the project was bolstered by his 33 years as an organist and music minister for the Catholic Diocese.

“There’s nothing else out there quite like this book,” said Cinchett. “I call it a book of celebration because we are celebrating the historical significance of the congregations and their contributions to the city.”

He continued, “The documentation along with recognition is important as many don’t realize that Metropolitan Ministries, the largest organization that helps the poor in Tampa, was established by the churches in Tampa.”

The book positioned the churches geographically by their neighborhoods so it could couple as a guidebook for sightseeing. Considered a labor of love, the book was four years in the making with most of the effort geared toward research.

“You would think that a 100-year-old church would have a lot of historical information, but that was not always the case,” explained Cinchett. “Over the years, information had either been lost or misplaced. In many cases, I was in the church basement or attic digging through files and boxes to locate the historical information.”

Historic Tampa Churches is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. Cinchett has also published two other history books through the same series, Vintage Tampa Signs and Scenes in 2008 and Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes in 2012. In addition to history books, Cinchett is a history columnist for two Tampa newspapers La Gaceta and the Pennysaver.

The new book retails for $21.99 and can be purchased locally at Bill’s Prescription Center located at 202 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon and at Barnes & Noble Bookseller stores. The book is also available online at and

For more information or to preview the first chapter, please visit the site directly at

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.