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The neighborhood has distinct architectural, culinary, cultural, and historical legacy that reflects its multi-ethnic composition.

It was unique in the American South as a prosperous manufacturing community built and populated almost entirely by immigrants.

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Ybor City came into existence as a direct result of a New York City businessman's failed search for guava trees.

Spanish émigré Gavino Gutierrez was a civil engineer by training, but was employed by a New York City fruit packing and canning firm in the mid-1880s.

Beginning in the 1980s, the old business district centered on 7th Avenue (La Septima) began a slow recovery, first as a bohemian haven for artists and, by the early 1990s, as a popular nightlife and entertainment district.

Since 2000, many historic structures near 7th Avenue have been renovated and restored, and construction has filled in most long-vacant lots. Ybor and Tampa Heights have also begun to see gentrification, with older structures being restored and new ones built.

He had heard that there were many guava trees growing wild in the Tampa Bay area and, looking to add to his company's product line, set out to find them in November 1884. The existing railroad line to Florida run by the Plant System only went as far south as Jacksonville, Florida, with a steamboat connection down the St.

Johns River to Sanford, Florida (near present-day Orlando).

Gutierrez took the rest of the trip across the state by stagecoach over unpaved country roads (it should be noted that an isolated rail line, the South Florida Railroad, connected Sanford and Tampa at this time and was completed less than a year prior to Gutierrez's visit).

Gutierrez did not find any commercial quality guavas in the isolated village of Tampa.

Ybor City was founded as an independent town in 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers led by Vicente Martinez-Ybor and was annexed by Tampa in 1887.

The original population was mostly composed of Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked in the cigar factories.

The community’s main commercial activities were fishing and the shipping of Florida cattle and citrus from its small port. Gutierrez left Tampa convinced that the area had the potential for development once the railroad was complete.

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