Whether you are new to the area or a longtime resident, you may have from time to time wondered about the history of places such as Plant City, Downtown Tampa, West Tampa or Ybor City. If you have and want to learn more, you should take a guided historical tour with Gary DeSantis, Ph.D., of Greater Tampa Bay Walking Tours.
Each tour is a 90-minute guided historical tour of a specific area. DeSantis is a trained and accredited historian. He is a former lecturer at several state colleges and universities. He has lived in the Tampa Bay Area for over 30 years and has a comprehensive knowledge of local history.
DeSantis said, “You can take a step back in time and see that Florida has more to offer than just theme parks.”
I recently took a tour of historic downtown Plant City. It was fascinating to learn about the evolution of Plant City including the building of the railroad by H.B. Plant, the first Strawberry Festival and the buildings in downtown. Many of them are all brick because the town suffered four fires in the early 1900s.
In addition to strolling the picturesque streets of historic downtown Plant City, you can visit the ethnic enclave of West Tampa.
Take a tour of Tampa and relive local history from the time of Native Americans to Spanish explorers to the founding of Fort Brooke. You can also take a step back in time and visit Ybor City. You will learn how Ybor City became a bustling factory town that put Tampa on the map.
Reservations are required. Tours cost $20 for adults, $10 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children 5 years old and younger. The West Tampa tours are offered on Sunday mornings only.
The Plant City tours meet at McCall Park, located at 100 N. Collins St. The West Tampa tour meets at Villa Park located at 700 N. Armenia Ave. The Downtown Tampa tour meets at Oaklawn Cemetery located at 606 Harrison St. The Ybor City tour meets at L’Unione Italiana located at 1731 E. 7th Ave.