Happy Birthday, Hillsborough County!

This thriving county on the west coast of Florida with a history as long and winding as the Hillsborough River turned 190 years old on January 25. Can you believe it? It’s even older than the state of Florida.

Hillsborough County got its name from Wills Hill, who was the first British secretary of state for the Thirteen Colonies from 1768-72. On January 25, 1834, the U.S. Legislative Council for the Territory of Florida approved an act organizing Hillsborough as Florida’s 19th county. Florida was granted statehood in 1845.

“As the custodian of official records in Hillsborough County, the Clerk’s office holds 190 years’ worth of documents that we make available to everyone. The public can now view seven linen reproductions of original Hillsborough County plat maps inside the Pat Frank Courthouse Building,” said Hillsborough County Clerk of Court and Comptroller Cindy Stuart on a flyer.

Things have changed dramatically for Hillsborough County over its 190-year history.

When Hillsborough County was just a baby, it covered a larger area than today’s county borders. In the beginning, Hillsborough County was a sprawling area that included what is now Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties, most of Glades County and part of Lee County.

Hillsborough’s population at that time was several hundred people. Today, the population is around 1.5 million, and on average an estimated 21,000 new residents move to Hillsborough County each year.

It isn’t your great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandparents’ Hillsborough County, but as the years pass, Hillsborough County continues to be home. And that alone is reason to celebrate.

“Birthdays are a time for reflection and gratitude, and we are grateful for each member of the community. We look forward to years of continued initiatives that contribute to the betterment of Hillsborough County,” said Stuart.

The Pat Frank Courthouse’s display, which includes maps of Fort Brooke dating back to 1853 and Ybor City from 1886, is in room 140 of the courthouse, located at 419 Pierce St. in downtown Tampa. Its hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The display can also be viewed online at https://tampabayhistorycenter.org/.

To learn more about Hillsborough County’s history, including our county’s namesake and historical highlights from the last 2,000 years, such as the 1937 Antifascist Women’s March and early indigenous residents, visit https://hcfl.gov/newsroom and search through the history category.

Happy Birthday, Hillsborough County, and here’s to many more!

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