Cigar City Magazine Mar-Apr 2007

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CIGAR CITY MAGAZINE P.O. BOX 18613, TAMPA, FLORIDA 33679 (813) 241-6900 WWW.CIGARCITYMAGAZINE.COM ©2006, Cigar City Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction, or use without written permission of the publisher, of editorial, pictorial, or design content in any manner is prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A The opinions of writers commissioned for articles are not necessarily those of the publisher. All advertising is subject to approval before acceptance. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. Publisher assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. A self-addressed, postage paid envelope for return must accompany manuscripts, photographs, and other materials submitted. Cigar City Magazine is not responsible for loss, damage, or any other injury to unsolicited originals unless specifically requested to do so by Cigar City Magazine in writing. You can write to us at Cigar City Magazine, P.O. Box 18613, Tampa, Florida 33679 or via email at All letters, emails and their contents sent to Cigar City Magazine become the sole property of the publisher and may be used and published in any manner whatsoever without limit and without obligation or liability to the author thereof.

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Dear CCM, Thanks for your great article on the old Cuesta-Rey Factory in West Tampa. In 1972 as a 19 year old I worked for the former owner of the Cuesta-Ray Factory building, Larry Duffy. Larry operated a Coleman RV distributorship out of it along with leasing most of the remaining space to the US Custom Service as a warehouse for seized goods. He really worked hard at maintaining and restoring the place and I spent many hours of my time with him carefully painting the offices, fixing and repairing original detailing including the safe and mural in the front office. At the back of the property were some old Casitas, which I hate to admit to assisting in tearing down for parking. The Casitas were much better than the duplexes that now stand in their place. After Mr. Duffy sold the building it rapidly declined culminating with a fire, which damaged but did not destroy the building. The City pushed hard regarding code violations, which resulted in the demolition of this wonderful building. I thank you for keeping the history of this place alive.

-Marc Hamburg Hello, Just want to tell you how impressed I am with your magazine and LOVE the idea of it. Please, don’t forget that Sicilians played a major role in the development of Tampa and Ybor City. I hope you’ll include some stories of us, too – and not the usual, clichéd mafia connection, not all of us were in the mafia. Most, like all four of my grand parents who came here from Sicily, were common folks who worked hard, had kids and made memories for me…please keep up the good work. -Jeannette Tamborello Dear Cigar City Magazine, I received the new Cigar City Magazine with the Tony Jannus article. Aside from Tony Jannus, my husband, Walter Hudson, is one of only two men in this area to ever fly a Benoist. Walter was an 14


integral part of the original group who selects & gives out the Tony Janus Award each year. In fact, he was Chairman of that group one year. Walter also helped build a Benoist replica that he flew in 1964 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original flight…On Mar 10, 2004, Walter was given The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award…This is only awarded to certified aircraft mechanics for service over 50 years. Walter also passed his love of flying to our daughter, Lt Col Julie Hudson. Julie was the first female A-10 pilot in our USAF Air National Guard. Julie began her USAF career flying C-141's around the world & then decided she'd like to fly the A-10. Julie is also a pilot for NW Airlines flying 757's based in Minneapolis, MN… And of course we could not be more proud of her. Thank you again for such interesting articles in your magazine. -Kathy Hudson Dear Editor, I am a Tampa native and I truly enjoy reading Cigar City Magazine! Congratulations on your success! Best of luck. -Sally Villar Giacobbe Editor, Thank you so much for such a wonderful article about my GRANDFATHER. I can't thank you enough, he deserved every word. -Sam and the Reina Family Editor, I just received the latest issue of Cigar City Magazine - they just keep getting better! I grew up in Tampa but moved away to North Carolina when I retired a few years ago. I found out about your magazine from a friend and signed up right away to receive a subscription. I wish you great success with your fine magazine-keep up the good work. -Jack Garcia



MARILYN ESPERANTE FIGUEREDO| INFO@CIGARCITYMAGAZINE.COM his issue of Cigar City Magazine contains a piece of documented history that we know our readers will find fascinating. It is the memoirs of a man named, Luis Barcia Quilabert written in 1957 when he was 93 years old at the urging of his family.

The pages are filled with one man’s life experiences as he reflects back. With the help of author Jack Fernandez, we are focusing on one particular incident that occurred in Barcia’s life -the Cigar Makers Strike of 1901. Barcia’s personal account of his kidnapping at gunpoint by what he termed, “The so called citizens of Tampa,” is filled with intrigue and suspense one might find in a novel about the old pirates of Tampa Bay. We are also featuring a story about Maria Messina Greco, a midwife who delivered over 12,000 babies in her lifetime. Maria kept a small notebook beginning in 1908, where she logged the birth information from each child she received. The notebooks have been kept in her family for many years and in this issue, you will find out how they were discovered by one curious researcher. If you grew up in Tampa, you will recognize many of the family names logged in these records. As far as we know, these are the only known Tampa midwife records in existence. We work diligently to find stories that our readers will find interesting, unique and tell a tale that has been lost in history. As always, we thank you, our readers for your support and words of encouragement. We also thank our subscribers and advertisers who continue to believe in Cigar City Magazine and the contributions we are making to Tampa’s history.

Marilyn Esperante Figueredo Editor



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How We Got Here Enrique Pendás - Cigar Manufacturer Cigar Labels and Victorian Scrapbooks

Cigar Label History - Ramón Fernández EL Lector - Please fill my Demitasse Cup Café Con Leche - Cristián de la Fuente Not So Trivial Lost Landmarks The Kitchen - Featuring The Poor Chef Dreamers & Doers - The Deviled Crab Man Mama Knows

Visit o ur web site at www.CigarCi 18



n 1886 the Sanchez y Haya Cigar factory edged out the Ybor and Manrara Cigar factory to produce the first manufactured cigar in Ybor City. Throughout Tampa’s history everything written about this historic event spoke of the two cigar manufacturers race to produce THE CIGAR. However, little has been written about the man who rolled that cigar–Ramon Fernandez! Cigar City Magazine salutes Ybor City’s first cigar maker on this 121st anniversary, which occurs on April 13, 2007! Ramon’s employer, Ignacio Haya later helped him to begin his own cigar business and we proudly display his label.

(Label courtesy of Tommy Vance, great grandson of Ignacio Haya)





Demitasse Cup Please Fill My


(Prohibition in Tampa) By Marilyn Figueredo

Photo courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Tampa

awoke early this fourth day of April 1930 to an unusually cold of these days they were going to be raided,” said José who, at age day. My oil heater did little to keep the chill out of the wood94, was the oldest of our cigar makers. “I have gone there for dinen boarding house I called home. I looked down from my secner many times with my Maria and have seen people drinking ond story window to the activity on the street below. Cigar makfrom demitasse cups that did not contain coffee or tea. The waiters, bundled in their warm coats and hats, were walking rapidly to ers always ask if I want something stronger, but I gave whiskey up their jobs at the factories. Usually their pace was slower as they years ago on recommendation of my physician. Did they arrest reluctantly headed to work, but on this severely cold morning they Alvarez, the owner?” wanted nothing more than to escape the chill as quickly as they “Yes” I replied. “It says here, ‘José Alvarez, proprietor of the could. restaurant, and a waiter were arrested. The liquor, including I thought to myself that I must drink my morning coffee quickly champagne, Benedictine, vermouth and other imported whiskies, grab today’s papers, and head to the factory. I cannot be late. The was hauled away in a truck.’ ” workers will be anxiously awaiting my arrival to hear details of the “I bet the police made a slight detour to their homes on the way raid that occurred yesterday at a popular restaurant. to the police station!” laughed a worker. “Did they arrest anyone When I arrived some of the workers were busily preparing their else?” tobacco on their worktables, while others were using the sharpen“No,” I responded. “It states the restaurant was filled at the ing stone to make the blade time of the raid, but diners of their chaveta sharp were not bothered.” enough to cut tobacco. “When will this prohibi“Good morning tabaquetion end, Lector? Even ros!”…. “Good morning Señor Ybor said it is not Lector”. right to keep wine and spirI climbed to my chair on its from the workingman. It the lector’s platform and is part of our history and began to read the morning’s culture. We have been Tampa Tribune headline: drinking wine in our family “Raid Tampa for generations,” said José. Restaurant–Dry Agents “All it does is force people Seize $12,000 Liquor in to break the law!” Fashionable Resort.” “I “My friends, there is heard it was El Pasaje they nothing we can do,” I said. raided Lector. Is that right?” “It is the law and we must asked one of the bunchers. abide by it. Maybe some day “Yes, it was El Pasaje.” our lawmakers will see that 1920 wiskey still found in a house in Tampa I continued reading from depriving a man of his occathe paper, “Federal prohibisional enjoyment is not tion agents raided the fashionable El Pasaje Spanish restaurant right and will use their power to change the law. It is all we can here last night during the dinner hour and seized imported hope for. In the meantime, the rumrunners are the ones becomliquors valued at $12,000.” ing rich, hiding liquor in the hollowed-out logs of wood that float “That’s more money than I make in a year rolling cigars,” said down the Hillsborough River, and secretly distributing it around one of the workers. the city. It does indeed force the honest man to do things that are I read further. “The officers searched the building for half an contrary to his beliefs. Well, let us hope Señor Alvarez and his waiter are released from custody soon and can go back to serving hour before they reported they had found the liquor stock hidden the wonderful Cuban and Spanish food cooked at El Pasaje!” in a storeroom behind a concealed trapdoor.” “I knew they had liquor hidden in the restaurant and that one MARCH/APRIL





he 18th Amendment was ratified in January 1919. All hard liquor with over 40% alcohol content (drinks over 80 proof) was banned. Officially, it banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…for beverage purposes.” Most people supported this act thinking it was only banning hard liquors, and that a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work would be fine. The Amendment took effect one year later on January 29, 1920. However, in October of 1919, the Volstead Act was passed which banned all alcohol that had more than 1/2% alcohol content. This effectively banned all forms of alcoholic beverages. Many of the original supporters of the 18th Amendment who just wanted a little wine now and then were left empty handed. During Prohibition, Tampa was a haven for Caribbean rumrunners who smuggled liquor under the darkness of night. Bootleggers were able to get liquor to the speakeasies around town and lots of money was made, especially by organized crime. Home stills were common where gallons of whiskey, rum and gin were made. Of course, there were the traditional stills found in the wooded areas in and around Tampa. In 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed effectively ending Prohibition forever.

Photo courtesy of Univ of South Florida, Special Collections.

El Pasaje Built in 1896 in an Italian Renaissance architectural style, El Pasaje originally was the Cherokee Club - a men’s social club. Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and other famous men stayed here. It is still standing in Ybor City and is located at 1318 Ninth Avenue.





n 1886, the same year

that Ybor City was found-

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Ellis Island

Some of these early immigrants were destined for Ybor

City, and over the decades between the neighbor-

ed, the Statue of Liberty

hood's founding and 1921 (when the great tide of

York Harbor. These two

to live and work in the town that Vicente Martinez

was dedicated in New events are more closely linked than might appear at first glance. Between 1880 and 1890, 5.2 million

immigrants entered the U.S., seeking the freedom and

immigration finally began to ebb), many more came Ybor–himself an immigrant–built. This is theirstory, and it is up to them to say How We Got Here.

opportunity that the Lady in the Harbor offered.



ease. By the time the U.S. entered the war for Cuban independence, at least 300,000 had died as a result of Spain’s “Reconcentration Decree.” When the “Splendid Little War” ended in December of 1898, a generation of Cuban exiles had already made homes and lives abroad, many of them in Ybor City. There, most either practiced the trade they had practiced in Cuba–cigar making–or took up the trade for the first time. The Italians “The people who had lived for centuries in Sicilian villages perched on hilltops for protection from marauding bands and spent endless hours each day walking to and from the fields, now faced a new and strange life on the flats of Ybor City.”

Photograph courtesy of Sonia J. Cruz


Vicente Marti Hernandez, age 21, in 1906 shortly before immigrating to Florida from Cuba

- Tony Pizzo, The Italians in Tampa.

he Italians of Ybor arrived almost exclusively from Sicily. Life in that island off Italy’s southern coast was unimaginably hard in the mid- to late 1800s. Most of the immigrants whose eventual destination was Ybor City came from Sicily’s southwestern region, a hilly area containing the towns of Santo Stefano Quisquina, Alessandria della Rocca, Cianciana, and Bivona. Dependent on hardscrabble agrarian pursuits (including the cultivation of almonds, pistachios, flax, olives, wheat, and wool), mining, and limited trade contacts, the residents of the area struggled with farmed-out soil, malaria, bandits, low birth rates, high land rents, and absenteelandlords. The population responded, according to historian Giampiero Carocci, by exercising three options: “resignation, socialism, and emigration.”

Who We Were and Why We Left Home

The Cubans “In this [Cuban] society, there was no social, racial, political, or economic integration. This was principally because Cuba was a Spanish colony and that the primary interest of the Spanish government was in holding its power through maintaining the polarized situation on the island; the more divided that Cuba was, the easier it was for the Spaniards to exploit its economic resources and to preserve their political power.” he largest and first group of immigrants to Ybor City–Cubans–followed the tobacco trade to Florida as manufacturers moved to Key West and, later, Ybor City. Work was not these immigrants’ only reason for leaving Cuba. The heavy hand of Spanish colonialism was heaviest on those least able to bear it: Cuba’s working poor. The working classes and peasants of the island were viewed as sources of insurgency and anarchism. In the 1890s, after two abortive revolutions, Valeriano Weyler (Captain-general of the island) imposed punitive measures. Thousands of campesinos (farm workers and small farm owners) were interned in towns and cities where they had no means of sustenance. This prolonged campaign of “re-concentration” resulted in widespread starvation and dis28


Photograph courtesy of Ybor City State Museum


- Frank Fernandez, Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement.

Lia and Vicenzo Nuccio, with their child Vincent, Ybor City, 1890s

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Courtesy of El Museo de la Emigración, Columbres, Asturias, Spain

Asturian women carting immigrants’ trunks to the quay.

The last option–emigration–was usually of the “chain” variety. Both through word of mouth and the activities of labor agents, Sicilians learned of job opportunities in America. Early sugar-producing communities in New Orleans, Louisiana and St. Cloud, Florida attracted many Sicilians, but the work and conditions were so grueling that many immigrants looked elsewhere. The completion of the Plant System Railway to Tampa (1884) combined with Vicente Martinez Ybor’s incorporation of Ybor City (1886) to make Tampa an attractive destination for these immigrants. Thousands–including the many Sicilians who either came directly to Tampa or moved there from their initial U.S. “landing spots”–found work in the cigar trade, as well as in the myriad other enterprises that supported Italians in the community. The Spaniards “Estamos muy enfermos: uno de los peores sintomas es la emigración, efecto de muchos errores juridicos y economicas, causa de innumerables males.” (“We are very sick: one of the worst symptoms is emigration, the result of many governance and economic errors, the cause of countless woes.”)


- Eduardo Gonzalez Velasco, Tipos y bocétos de la emigración astur.

paniards who immigrated to Ybor City (either directly from Spain or from Cuba) came primarily from Cataluñya, the Canary Islands, Galicia, and Asturias. These areas, especial-

ly the northern Atlantic provinces, were cursed with arduous lifestyles and limited opportunities. Emigration to the New World promised relief from hard times in Spain, but the voyage was not without peril. For thousands, the transatlantic crossing was “el viaje sin retorno” (“the trip with no return”), as their immigrant ships foundered off Spain’s rocky coasts or at sea. In addition to immigration directly from Spain, the expansion of the tobacco trade into Florida enticed many Spaniards living in Cuba to continue moving northwards. Stratified to a great extent by race, the cigar industry in Cuba allotted most upper management and salaried, artisan positions to Spaniards; the custom was followed as the industry became established in Florida. Considered the economic and social elite of Ybor City, Spaniards created large cigar manufactories. The Centro Español, or Spanish social club, was an imposing structure at 7th Avenue and 16th Street, and was described in 1892 by the newspaper Verdad as a “temple of the arts and education.” During the Spanish-American War, anti-Spanish sentiment in Tampa ran high. The conflicted loyalties of many Spanish residents of Ybor City impelled them to return to Cuba. The membership of Centro Español dwindled and, according to club records, “only three hundred paid their dues.” U.S. expeditionary forces occupied this, the grandest and most elegant of Ybor City’s social clubs, and it required action by the Tampa City Council to restore the Club to its ownership. MARCH/APRIL 2007


Courtesy of MOSAIC, Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami.

El Sombrero Blanco in 1908. This dry goods store was established by Isidor Kaunitz. Max Argintar is in the center foreground.

The Jews “In the month of June 1914, I arrived in this country and at that time there were two stations, one in Ybor City and one in Union Station. And by mistake my brother waited for me in Ybor City...I had to walk eighteen blocks to get to my brother.”


- Manuel Aronovitz, early Jewish immigrant.

ome of Ybor City’s earliest and most adventurous immigrant residents were Jews. Ybor City’s Jews came primarily from Germany, Russia and Rumania, and many were fleeing pogroms and anti-Semitism in their native lands. Jews were quick to respond to labor agents, posters, and handbills seeking workers for the cigar factories of Key West and Tampa. Some Jews found their way to Ybor City by word of mouth alone, like Louis Schein whose family had fled Austria because of pogroms. Escaping lung ailments caused by New York’s climate, Schein came in a roundabout way to Ybor City in the 1890s. Told “there are Jews in Ybor City,” Schein made his way there and encountered Isidore Kaunitz (proprietor of the dry goods store El Sombrero Blanco.) Kaunitz, who had known Schein’s family in Austria, helped the newer immigrant enter the small but industrious group of Jews who called Ybor City home.



Schein’s story exemplifies not only the “chain migration” that characterized much European immigration, but also the resourcefulness and verve of Ybor City’s immigrant Jews. How We Got Here: Ships, modes of passage, and the conditions of travel. “The practice of one member of a family going to America first, then saving to bring others over was common...It is believed that in 1890 between 25 and 50 percent of all immigrants arriving in America had prepaid tickets. In 1901, between 40 and 65 percent came either on prepaid tickets or with money sent to them from the United States.” - “The Immigrant Journey: Historical Highlights”

Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty Magazine.

“Most immigrants lie in their berths for most of the voyage, in a stupor caused by the foul air. The food often repels them...It is almost impossible to keep personally clean. All of these conditions are naturally aggravated by the crowding.”

- Report to Pres. William H. Taft by the United States Immigration Commission, 1911.


assage to America for European emigrants involved a long and often dangerous Atlantic crossing. Ports of debarkation for Spanish emigrants who eventually arrived in Ybor City were usually Gijón and Avilés, Vigo, La Coruña, and Santander. From Sicily, emigrants departed from Palermo. From other European locales, a variety of ports and cities served as points of departure for immigrants to America. Many immigrants purchased inexpensive steerage accommodations. These, in the lower regions of ships, were crowded and dirty, and immigrants frequently contracted lice and disease in quarters that might contain as many as 2000 immigrants. The stormy Atlantic crossing took its toll in shipwrecks and a sizeable number of immigrants found, instead of hope and opportunity in the New World, a watery grave.

1885-86, the Mascotte was in service. This 215-foot ship represented the height of contemporary maritime design, with a 1000 horsepower engine and a cruising speed of 15 knots. In 1887, a sister ship, the Olivette, was added to the Plant line. Both the Olivette and Mascotte were designed for the luxury travel trade between the U.S. and the Caribbean, but they and other vessels also transported goods and several classes of passengers. While Ybor City’s earliest Cuban immigrants traveled via the sailassisted “vapor” Hutchinson, a large number of later immigrants found passage on the Mascotte or the Olivette. The Plant System ships, along with those of other lines, made the trip from Havana to Tampa in around a day. This was a far cry from the trip faced by European immigrants, who might spend weeks in the grueling passage to America.

ontrary to popular supposition, not all immigrants from the Old World to the New entered via Ellis Island. Other ports of entry, such as Boston, other Eastern Seaboard cities, and even Canada opened the “golden door” to weary immigrants, many of whom got off the ship without a word of English or welcoming relatives to ease the shock of their arrival. Labor agents, handbills and posters, or word of mouth alerted some of these travelers to the possibilities of Ybor City, and, after a further journey by rail or ship, these early Yborciteños made their way to Tampa. Cuban immigrants to Ybor City had the advantage of regular maritime traffic between Florida and “the pearl of the Antilles.” Such traffic, by sail and later steam, crossed the Florida Straits between Cuba and Key West, with goods and passengers sometimes transferring to other transport for destinations West and Northeast.

What We Found Here


“About twenty Spaniards arrived on the Olivette Sunday from Havana. They will make their future homes in Tampa and are welcome. This is about the average number that has been arriving here on almost every boat for the past several months.” - The Tampa Daily Times, May 9, 1899.

In the mid-1880s, Henry Bradley Plant, the transportation magnate who brought the rail line to Tampa, initiated a steamship line that would service Havana, Key West, and Tampa. By the winter of

Mesa Family circa 1924.

“What I saw before me almost brought me to tears. There was nothing!...Ybor City was not connected to Tampa as it is today. There was a wilderness between the two cities...All of Ybor City was not worth more than one cent to me.” - Giovanni Cacciatore, “Life Histories of Italian Cigar Workers,” Federal Writers Project.

“We came to Tampa in 1892, [on the steamer] Olivette...At that time, no one love Ybor City... No screen, no light, no electric.”


The “Olivette” which transported many passengers between Cuba, Key West and Tampa.

- José Vega Diaz, immigrant from Cuba.

bor City was a neighborhood built from scratch. The 40-plus acres of scrub that constituted the city’s original purchase were home to Florida wildlife and little else. For immigrants the forbidding landscape bore little resemblance to the cultivated environs of their homelands. Nevertheless, by 1900, aggressive and visionary city planning combined with the tireless industry of immigrant residents to produce factories, schools, hospitals, social clubs, theaters, churches, stores, restaurants, sewers and city lighting, paved MARCH/APRIL 2007


century, women remained key figures in Ybor City’s labor force. Ybor City’s women cigar workers were some of the highest paid in the nation, earning equal pay for equal work with men.


streets, fire and police protection. Despite the much earlier incorporation of the City of Tampa (1849), Ybor City had, by the 1890s, outpaced that settlement in every respect: population, mercantile development, cultural activity, and economic productivity–striking when one considers the relative wasteland Ybor City represented at its outset. What We Did Here “Parties of from 25 to 100 Italians are arriving in Tampa almost every week. Not one of them is starving. Not one of them is out of work.”


- Tampa Morning Tribune, December 12, 1905.

ard work was the operative phrase for successful adaptation to the Ybor City immigrant community. From the neighborhood’s outset, labor organized itself along ethnic lines. The Cuban immigrant population, already embedded in the cigar trade, continued to supply the largest group of workers for the industry in Ybor City. Far from an undifferentiated labor force, tobacco workers ran the gamut from leaf sorting and stripping to hand-rolling finished cigars. Initially, both Cuban and Spanish workers resisted the penetration of the cigar trade by Sicilian immigrants. These, if they found work in the trade, were usually relegated to menial tasks like sweeping the galería (workroom) or sorting materials. Some found work in chinchales (small, independent cigar establishments), where they might work with low or no pay for as long as a year while learning the trade. By 1910, however, Italian workers were the second largest group of rank-and-file cigar workers in Ybor City, and some of the most proactive in labor organization and activism. Mercantilism also claimed Sicilian involvement. Pasta factories, olive oil importers, fish merchants, wrought iron factories, and bakeries: these were some of the strongest economic endeavors in the neighborhood dominated by Sicilians. Truck and dairy farms (most clustered in the neighborhood’s east end) were also largely Sicilianoperated. The labor landscape of early Ybor was partly defined by children and women. While working children declined with increasing prosperity and the enactment of child labor laws in the early twentieth 34


What They Said About Us “The Italian jewelry thief who was captured Saturday was tracked by a hound to his hiding place in a clump of palmettos. Another argument in favor of the City owning a pack of trained hounds.” - Tampa Morning Tribune, June 19, 1895.

“The Atlanta Journal says: ‘From Rome comes a report that 40,000 Italian emigrants are booked to leave for the United States during May. There is but oneway to stop this flood of spaghetti emigration and that is to prohibit sidewalk fruit stands.’”

- Tampa Daily Times, May 1899.

“The foreign saloon element of Hillsborough County is composed largely of Spaniards. They want to sell liquor, are surly, and gamble all the time.”

- Tampa Morning Tribune, September 3, 1908, Sheriff’s report on Ybor City.

Max Argintar and brother Sender in their store, Ybor City, 1908

Courtesy of Florida State Photo Archives and Sam Argintar

Laying brick in 1910.

acial equality also characterized the mass of laborers in the cigar industry in Ybor City. In a Jim Crow era and locale, Afro-Cuban immigrants and their descendents worked alongside whites in the cigar trade, and maintained an occupational and sociocultural status that clearly deviated from the underclass to which people of color were consigned in the South. A popular misconception is that Ybor City’s Jews were concentrated in the merchant trades, and it is true that a good number of successful and popular mercantile enterprises were Jewish-owned or operated. But Ybor City’s Jews–like its Spaniards, Cubans, and Italians–took advantage of the rapid growth and open environment of the area to become teachers, real estate speculators, cigar workers, artisans, and a variety of other professionals. A lively arts-cultural scene also prevailed in early Ybor, and immigrants of all races found work as artists and arts educators.


mmigrants to America did not always find warm welcomes. While they had their defenders, many immigrants, including those to Ybor City, faced cultural, linguistic, and racial bias. Reflected in slanted newspaper accounts of activities in immigrant neighborhoods, in editorial cartoons, and sometimes in blatant anti-immigrant diatribes, the prejudices of those to whom these newcomers seemed strange and threatening blot America’s history. When We Looked Back

“Memories of Sicily? Starved to death. That’s the only memory that my mother used to tell us. She had a stepmother and they used to bake the bread once a week and they used to tie the bread to the ceiling, and the grandmother says, ‘Don’t touch one slice of it.’” - Joe Valenti, Italian immigrant.

There were notable differences in the perspectives of Ybor City’s immigrants toward the homelands they had left. These differences had less to do with what immigrants found in their new home than in the conditions that prevailed–or changed–in their native countries. For Cubans, the proximity of the island to Florida, along with the established Tampa-Havana transportation systems, made the return to Cuba a relatively easy option. Also, Cuba’s liberation from Spanish domination made the prospect of returning to the island more attractive. Despite these enticements, relatively few Cubans reversed the direction of their flight. Intermarriage, higher standards of living, and greater professional opportunities: these were powerful motives for Cuban immigrants to put down and retain roots in Ybor City. Italian, Spanish, and Jewish immigrants stayed in Ybor City for most of the same reasons as Cuban immigrants. Compounding these were the persistent miseries of their homelands. For Spaniards who left Asturias and Galicia, years and even decades not only did not improve conditions in their homelands but led to decreasing populations, escalating political strife, and declining means of sustenance. The same was true for Sicily, where wholesale emigration led to the virtual abandonment of towns and villages, while increasing European industrialization isolated the still-medieval lifestyles and folkways of Sicily. Jews in Ybor City also put down sturdy roots, joining “Dixie Jews” throughout the South in their acculturation to life in the region. Clearly, Ybor City’s immigrants were here to stay.


bor’s early immigrants had a collective vision, focused on the future, but they and their descendants have never forgotten their past. Immigration, a constantly renewing feature of life in America, merits continual examination and understanding. In this regard, the immigrants of Ybor City can and should always relate the stories of How We Got Here. Plant System Map 1896.





University of South Florida, Tampa Library, Special Collections Department

Enrique Pendas

Enrique Pendás Cigar Manufacturer

Between 1936 and1940, the Federal Writers Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), visited Tampa to take oral histories from local residents. They collected a number of writings from residents. This particular writing comes from Enrique Pendás, a well known cigar manufacturer. The narrative below contains his personal feelings regarding politics of the time as well as other controversial topics.


Some words are illegible, so question marks (?) or suggested words in parentheses are used in their place.

was born in the province of Asturias in the year 1865. The town in which I was born is so small that it does not appear on any map of Spain. I am about as old as Christopher Columbus, who discovered the new world only because of the grit of the Pinzon brothers. Columbus was at a total loss when his compass needle no longer marked a due west course. I went to Cuba when still very young, and was completely amused with the beauty of this land. It has a wonderful fertility, yielding three crops a year, a thing that no other land in the world can equal. And above all is the hospitality of its people who are always obligors and trying to please. Where else can one find these qualities? It is a second nature in them. I do not consider myself only Spaniard, but a Spanish American, as all these republics in South America have the blood of Spain in their veins: they are the true daughters of Spain. We are not Latins, as many in this community would like to call us. We are all Spanish Americans, and there should not be any distinction between us. We are all brothers in blood as well as in characteristics. When I was in New York I had a private teacher, who was one of the most learned men that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He could speak and write many languages. I remember saying to him one time that the Spanish language was more expressive than the English, and he told me: "What is there more beautiful than this passage in English: The twittering of the birds, the cooing of the doves." However, he said this with so much expression that it really seemed that you were hearing the birds and the doves. I remember also a friend of mine who was a Socialist. In those days I was mixed up in everything. The day previous to the elections I was with him in a building where there were four speakers talking for him, each speaker in a separate window. It was raining and thundering, but the crowd remained there listening. I remained in the building until early hours of the morning. Then the votes were finally counted; he had received 66,000 votes.


ust before establishing our factory in Tampa, I went to Key West and remained there eight months. Our factory, Lozano, Pendas & Co., was finally established here on May 15th, 1887, when I was 22 years of age. I remember that when I established the factory here, I gave employment to nearly all the workers of Sanchez & Haya. I have always treated the cigar-makers as human beings, not as animals. I thoroughly understand their nature. I founded the Centro Español de Tampa (Spanish Club), and although I hold number one as being its first member, I have retired from the club altogether. They have sent committee after committee to get me to go back, but I have principle in my life. The reason for this action of mine, if you must know, is that the Centro Español gave a reception to the former Cuban President, Mr. Ramón Grau San Martín. They acted like dogs that lick the hand that whips them. This president enforced the 50% law in Cuba, whereby 50% of all employees had to be Cubans (native). There are a considerable number of firms owned by Spaniards whose employees are all Spaniards, and this meant that they had to throw out half of their employees and place Cubans in their place. There were also several acts of violence against the Spaniards during the presidency of Mr. Grau. Another thing that the Centro Español did, which is not in keeping with my principles is the following: When the Spanish Ambassador came to Tampa, a reception was held in his honor at El Pasaje Restaurant. The first to speak was the president of the Centro Español. He got up and spoke in English -- very rotten English at that. When the Ambassador was called upon to speak, he also continued speaking in English. Then they called upon me to speak, I got up, grabbed my hat, and sent everybody to H---. Then I walked out. It is unbelievable that a Spanish representative should come to a Spanish colony and have everyone trying to speak a language which they do not know, when they have the most beautiful language in the world at their finger's tip, as you might say. I have my principle: what my reason dictates is right, and I pursue that course to the end, irrespective of the obstacles that stand in my way. MARCH/APRIL 2007





hen the manufacturers and cigar-makers arrived in Tampa, they found nothing but a stinking hole with swamps and pestilence everywhere. When we first arrived here, what little we found in what was called Tampa, could not even be called a village. We made not only what Tampa is today, but the whole state of Florida. There were only a very few thousand souls in all the State. We gave it life and placed it on the map of the United States. This State owes everything to us. There were no women in Tampa in those days. I would go to Franklin Street, and would stand there hour after hour, but could not see a single woman. Then the beautiful sanitorium of the Centro Asturiano was built, Mr. Torres, then president of the Club, found himself in a complete dilemma with reference to the medical body. He was not equal to the task before him. He fell sick and I took complete charge of the matter. When he recovered I had already organized the hospital. I remember that one of my cigar-makers was Mr. B. M. Balbontín. He was a very bad cigar-maker, but he was a very intelligent man. I took a fancy to him and set him up in a barroom, at which business he made a complete success. Mr. Balbontín has always been a man of great prestige in the Latin community. At one time he came to the rescue of the Spanish Club when it was in financial straite [sic] by putting through the Gold Bonds of the Club, and sold to the members. It became, therefore, an internal debt…only last week I gave a check for $25.00 for this purpose. Mr. D.B. McKay was raised in Ybor City. As a boy he was always among us. He has not forgotten his friends. He attends all the social functions of the different clubs in Ybor City. When he first ran for Mayor of Tampa I was his chief supporter, and I myself placed him as Mayor of Tampa. Peter O. Knight is another one of the "strong men" in Tampa, who visits all the Latin clubs on Christmas Day, and then winds up by visiting me at my home. Every year I make substantial donations to all worthy charitable causes. However, I never give a cent to the Salvation Army or some of those other charities which keep salaried men. When I give my money, I must know that it goes straight to the needy persons, not to somebody's pocket. When the terrible storm (came) that destroyed the entire town of Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba, I immediately set a movement on foot to (help) those people. I was afterwards offered a certificate in recognition of my act, which I still hold. I also pay the quotas of many members of the Clubs, who are….(unable to pay) MARCH/APRIL



400 block of Franklin Street in Downtown Tampa in 1890.






Courtesy University of South Florida, Tampa Library, Special Collections Department

Regensburg Cigar Factory, now known as the J.C. Newman Cigar Company. 36



have been in many meetings of the Cuban Club, and very many not the one that was going to operate on me. I also told him that the of the ones attending the meetings are Spaniards. At one of these arm was worth more than he and the whole sanitorium. My friend meetings I brought up the matter of sending a committee from then took me to another doctor who operated on me. As soon as my the Cuban Club to the officials in Tampa. Not a single one wanted to wife knew that I had to undergo an operation, she promptly left for go; they were afraid. So I appointed myself the Committee and went Havana. Half an hour after the boat docked, she was at my bedside. there myself. It is absurd to be afraid of voicing your rights before hile in Havana I saw a very strange happening, and it was those who came here after we had founded a city. this: A full-blooded Spaniard had come to Cuba when Since the first societies were formed, the doctors here have been very young. He married a Cuban girl. He raised a family carrying on a most brutal war against them, very similar to what the of eight children, all born in Cuba. One day he arrived at his home doctors have been doing in Cuba against the quintas. They are nothfeeling very (sad) as he had lost his position. He was talking to his wife ing but a bunch of shameless rascals. At a meeting I placed my sentiof how bad conditions were getting, when his eldest son got up and ments into words, and told them plainly what I thought of all the docsaid: "Gallego, go back to Spain where you belong; we don't want you tors. I stated that at least 60% of the people buried in the cemeteries in Cuba." The father gave his son such a terrible blow that he had to were killed by them. be carried to the Emergency Hospital. A few hours later the father I was afterwards told that Dr. Helms, a very good friend of mine, was on a ship bound for Spain, leaving the whole family behind. had taken offense at this statement of mine. (?) At another meeting I During one of the strikes here in Tampa, I went back to my homewent straight up to Dr. Helms, and told him that I took exception town in Spain, thinking with him, as there are of seeing all my old exceptions in all cases. friends and relatives. When I commit an error When I arrived there I with a friend, I promptly found that I knew no rectify it. I am not afraid one. There was an entireto go up to him and ly new generation. The acknowledge my error. only one that I recogHowever, my accusation nized was my sister. holds good for all the rest I remember that upon of the doctors. my return, an old mulatto When my left arm was man who had been workbroken at the joint, the ing at my factory for many doctors here said it was a years, died. I attired myself dislocation. They placed in a tight fitting coat, and the joint back together, a tall top hat. It makes me but not the broken laugh to think of how I bones. It commenced givwas dressed when I went ing me pain, and the arm to this funeral. began to swell. I then left “La Mia” cigar label – Lozano, Pendas and Company Cigars In these days I was for Havana, Cuba, and alone here, without my had the bad luck to go family to look after or anything, so you can be sure that I wasn't too with the president to the Centro Asturiano of Havana to his quinta or good. I did as I pleased. sanitorium, La Covadonga. He took me to the best specialist of the The Union of Manufacturers here is composed of pirates of the sanitorium. This specialist told me that my arm needed massage. I left industry. They are not human; they can only think of new ways of (?) that place in bad humor, and told that specialist several things. the cigar-makers more and more. All the rules and regulations are I then met a friend of mine who was not a "big shot", like the presantiquated. ident of the Centro Asturiano. He took me to the Colegio de Belén Regensburg (Cigar Factory) is not one of them; we only cooperate where they had an X-Ray apparatus, and which I believe was the only with them. one in Havana. At that time the X-Ray had not been perfected. There At one time certain rumors got about that I had said something was not a single one in Tampa. Although this X-Ray at the Colegio de about one of the manufacturers. This was completely false, and it Belén was not a very powerful one, yet it showed clearly that the bone made me see red. At one of the Manufacturer's meetings, I got up, was broken. and very loudly said that whoever had said such a thing about me was I took this X-Ray photo to that specialist of the Centro Asturiano, un apestoso hijo de perra, or if you would prefer to have it in English: and showed it to him. He then said it clearly showed that the bone A stinking son of a b--. No one got up to contest this. was broken, and it was necessary to operate and place the bone back Of Mr. Davis of Schwab, Davis & Co., I can't say much. It is best together. I told him that it certainly needed an operation, but he was





to ignore him altogether. He wanted to have the cigar-makers produce the Panetellas at $13.00 per thousand and thought he could do it by threatening them. How little he knows the nature of the cigar-makers! I told him that he could sooner kill the cigar-makers of hunger, before they would submit to any threat.



ost of the strikes in Tampa had been originated by the "International." In the first strike that started on June 25th, 1910, the cigar-makers demanded the recognition of the International. I headed the manufacturers in the strike, which lasted seven months. This strike was finally ended on January 26th, 1911, and although the cigar-makers lost, they still had hopes of forcing recognition. On April 20, 1920, the cigar-makers again went on strike, demanding recognition of the Union. This strike lasted ten months, and I completely destroyed the "International" for all times. Another one of the things that was causing many of the strikes in Tampa was the tribunes. I advised the manufacturers to take out the tribunes and there would be no more strikes. These tribunes were entirely eliminated from the factories through my efforts. The tribunes at the cigar factories were the platforms where the readers stood and read novels, newspapers, etc., to the cigar-makers. In some instances the cigar-makers would stand here and voice their grievances. The cigar making machines are ruining not only the cigar-makers, but the manufacturers as well. The factories must compete with other factories in the country. This competition is ruinous. They are even producing a very large size of cigar to retail at two for 6 cents. Then some are producing a really small cigar in imitation of the cigarettes. The cigarettes are also doing a great deal of harm to the cigar industry. Their production has jumped by leaps and bounds since the war. They are harmful because they have too much nicotine and opium, yet you see little kids about the streets smoking cigarettes. At one time the factory of Regensburg alone was producing over eighty million cigars in one year. Today this former production is only a pleasant memory.


he young generation is gradually leaving Tampa. Some are leaving for New Orleans where they are not wanted. There are four factories there that are doing good business. Others are leaving for New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other parts. Only last week over 60 persons left Tampa. A remedy should be found that will remedy this condition. I do not intend to leave, however, for I have lived here practically all my life and I intend to die with the cigar industry in Tampa. Of the very first settlers most of them are today in their graves, and that is the only place where I could go to see them. Only yesterday I went to the Myrtle Hill Cemetery to attend the transfer of the ashes of an old friend of mine. Only three or four of the real old-timers are left living today. Note: Enrique Pendás died on December 31, 1935 in Tampa at the age of 70. To honor him, all the cigar factories in Tampa closed the morning of his funeral. The hands of the large clock on the Regensburg factory were stopped at 3:25 a.m., the time of Pendás death the day before. This manuscript was provided by the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA Federal Writers’ Project 36



Enrique Pendás

nrique Pendás was born in Asturias, Spain, in 1865. At age 16, he left his homeland for Cuba where he lived for two years; then he went to New York where he worked with his uncle Y. Pendás of Lozano, Pendás Cigar Co. In 1887, the company decided to open a factory in Tampa and sent Enrique to set up its operation. This was a year after the cigar industry started in Ybor City. Enrique became manager of Lozano, Pendás and Co., the third cigar factory established in our cigar city. He remained as manager through the reorganization of the firm, which became Y. Pendás and Alvarez until 1914. Two years later he became manager of the American Cigar Co. factories in Tampa. In 1929, after the death of Laureano Torres, Sr., he became manager of the Regensburg Cigar Factory. He helped to found El Porvenir (The Future), a health maintenance organization for cigar workers. The members paid $1.25 a month and in return received medicine, hospitalization and medical services. El Porvenir worked exceptionally well and later the various nationalities branched off to form their own mutual aid societies–El Centro Español, L’Unione Italiana, Martí-Maceo, El Círculo Cubano and El Centro Asturiano. El Centro Español was formed in 1891 and was funded by Ignacio Haya, one of the owners of Sanchez and Haya Cigar Factory. He was elected its first president and Pendás served as vice-president.

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ristián de la Fuente is the first male to grace the cover of Cosmopolitan En Español. In addition, he has been named 50 of the most beautiful by People Magazine En Español three times and in 1999 in People Magazine USA. Cristián’s first film, “Driven” in which he co-starred opposite Sylvester Stalone opened to number one at the box office. He also starred opposite John Travolta and Samuel Jackson in the hit movie, “Basic” and “Vampiros Los Muertos” opposite Jon Bon Jovi. More recent films include: “Once Upon a Wedding”, opposite Esai Morales and “Suenos” opposite John Leguizamo. This talented actor, born in Chile, recently chatted with Cigar City Magazine. In his interview, he talked about his latest projects, his family and shared with us his positive outlook on life. He is visiting Tampa for the first time in conjunction with the Gasparilla Film Festival (Feb 28, 2007 – Mar. 4, 2007).

CCM: Cristián, do you smoke cigars? Cristián: Yes, I smoke, I go to a cigar lounge and I have my locker. I have smoked cigars for a while. CCM: What is your favorite cigar? Cristián: Fuente Opus X, Partagas and Monticristo #2–people tell me I shouldn’t smoke and that it is bad for me, but cigars are completely different than cigarettes. CCM: What current project are you working on? Cristián: I Just finished taping “The Class” and I did 8 episodes for that show. We are going to go in hiatus. In a month I have to go to Luxemburg and London because I am going to be shooting a movie directed by Raoul Ruiz, a Chilean director who has lived most of his life living in Paris. He will be directing the movie “Love and Virtue”. I am very happy to be working on that project because I will be able to work with Peter O’Toole, John Malkovich and also Daryl Hannah – it’s a great cast. The fact that the director is Chilean and he wanted me to be a part of this movie is really an honor for me. I also did a pilot called “In Plain Sight”, which later changed its name to “Mary Sunshine”. It stars Mary McCormack and Lesley Ann Warren and that pilot was picked up by USA and will start production in July– thank God, it looks like I am going to have a busy year and I am happy about that. CCM: You have said that your acting method is to loan your body to the characters rather than portraying them–can you explain that to us. Cristián: When you ask someone to act and to do something, they start acting or behaving or try to mimic the character - be a bad guy or a tough guy or a crazy guy. And people start acting out the idea of what they think that person would be. I believe we are a blend of many feelings and many personalities. When you are pushed to some extremes there are parts of the personality that will explode. So what I try to do when I do a character, is I try to use my body to really be that person and be that character as if I am actually living that experience. We do things because something or some body pushes us to do those things. When you lend your body and you relive as that character then you get a better result.

CCM: How do you select your roles? Cristián: I have been lucky and blessed to be able to work in very good productions and be able to read very good material. When I read something that I relate to or a character that I believe has something in common with me one way or another I try to go for it. I try to do something in one way or another that touches me and that gives me the way to lend my body and relive that character. If I don’t have a connection to that character then it is fake. I have to relate to the character. CCM: How do you feel when you look back at the roles that you have played? Cristián: I don’t love to look at my work because the beauty of this job is hopefully you always go forward and every day you learn a little more and every day you can do things better. Every time I see something I have done I think “Oh I could have done this better, or that better - or this thing better. I look at all my past roles as experience and as a growing process to hopefully become a better actor. CCM: What are you most proud of professionally? Cristián: I am proud of everything–there is nothing I regret or I am ashamed of to show to my daughter or my friends. But “Driven” has a special value for me because it was my first movie. I am proud of coming all the way from Chile, speaking a different language, coming to a different country starting from nothing and being able to be in a big Hollywood production movie. I remember the day I went to the Chinese Theatre for the premier and it was like Wow! Dreams can become true. I had a dream of coming to the States and doing a movie and I did. That feeling of achieving and being able to make a dream come true, that’s what I am most proud of. CCM: Now that you are a father do you select your roles differently than you did before? Cristián: I haven’t been in the position to think about what my daughter might think about it. I know that maybe in the future I am going to read something and wonder if my daughter is going to be able to understand that Daddy is acting - maybe 10 years from now she will understand that I am acting and that is my job. She is small now and I don’t want to do anything that would affect her in this young stage. When she sees me on TV now it is just daddy on TV, not the role I am playing. CCM: What is the most satisfying thing for you about acting? Cristián: Being able to live many lives instead of one.




CCM: What is the worst thing? Cristián: The press that is more concerned about your personal life than your career. I have a normal family, I love my wife and she loves me and my daughter but people sometimes are looking for you to fall - like there is something wrong in your marriage; the tabloids are the only bad thing. CCM: What is some of the best advice you received as an actor and who was it from? Cristián: A friend of mine, an older actor was playing my father in a soap opera down in Chile. I was 19 and just starting out. He said one of these days you will do things outside of Chile. You are definitely going to go away but, never forget who you are or where you come from. I have been very blessed to be in this business for almost 15 years. I have seen a lot of guys after one year of a hit show or movie forget who they are and where they came from. At the end of the day you must be very careful with the feet that you step on your way up because they are attached to the asses you will have to kiss on the way down. CCM: How often do you get back to Chile? Cristián: I just arrived back from there today. I was also there for Christmas and New Years. I go back home very often for many reasons–one because I am a lieutenant in the reserves in the air force and for that I need to go back two or three times a year. For family reasons, my mother, grandmother and my wife’s sisters and brothers are there. My daughter has lots of cousins to play with. I also have a production company there so I visit at least once a month. I have been in the States 9 years and last year I flew 250,000 miles in one year. CCM: What is the name of the two shows you are working on? Cristián: I am producing one called “Casino” kind of a Spanish version of “Vegas” that is produced here. It is a one-hour drama that takes place in a casino because in Chile there are very beautiful casinos on the beach. It is like “Love Boat” where stories happened on the boat–our stories happen in the casinos. Then I have a show where we have a hidden camera and we go film famous people. Not the same as “Punk’d” but similar. CCM: With Casino are you acting in it or are you just producing? Cristián: I am going to be acting but not a lot. I am going to play the owner of the casino who is a busy man and travels often. He leaves his friend in charge of the casino. Then there is the triangle with his wife and the friend and they are trying to take the money away – that is one plot. Then every week we will have one story that takes place in the casino that has a beginning and an end each week. There are 12 episodes CCM: What is the first thing you do when you get home to Chile? Cristián: I have breakfast because I travel from Los Angeles or Miami and the flight arrives at 630 or 7 in the morning. So I go to this American hotel where I love their breakfast, then I go home and I sleep and I start the day. 46


CCM: Tell us about growing up. What kind of family did you come from? Cristián: My parents were divorced–my dad lived with another woman and my mom lived alone with me, but my dad visited me every day. I did not have the dream family with everyone living together in one house. Some times it was just my dad and I and other times just my mom and I. That is why it is so important for me for my daughter to have what I didn’t have. I want her to be surrounded by her cousins, uncles, aunts and her grandmother. My dad passed away 10 years ago and all that I have left are the special moments we spent together and the conversations we had together. Those are the teachings I have and I can pass on to my daughter - I think that is the only valuable thing I can give to he–teachings, experiences, conversations and special moments that we can share so that one day when I am not here I will be here through her. CCM: Do you keep in touch with childhood friends? Cristián: I see them very often when I go to Chile and we also are in touch by email. Two of them moved to LA two years after me and lived with me for a while. They got married and now we all have children and live in the same city. We are all busy with our families and our kids but we get together once in awhile. CCM: Do those relationships seem more genuine than those you build now? Cristián: No, the new relationships that I build now I feel are very strong and they are going to last a long time. My business partner in Chile is a great friend of mine and the friends I made in the air force, the pilots that I fly with are friends. I also have good friends I met in LA. The friendships are not as old as the friendships I had with my childhood friends but I think they are as strong and genuine. CCM: Who are your role models? Cristián: My dad. He made a lot of mistakes but you learn from the bad. I will try to avoid the bad things he did and will try and imitate the good things he did. CCM: Are you connected or disconnected from reality–meaning do you go shopping, do you run to the store to pick-up something your daughter needs? Cristián: I am completely connected to reality –if you are asking me if I go to the store and do the normal things–yes I do everything and I told all my friends that the day I start believing that there is something I do because I am special or different they have the right to hit me in the face. CCM: You are a licensed pilot - do you fly your own plane or do you just fly for your military duty? Cristián: I fly every week or every other week–I love it and in order to keep my license up I have to fly often. It is a passion. I fly with the aerobatic team in Chile and I am in the reserves in the air force so every time I go to Chile I fly. I also fly here in California.

CCM: What kind of rush does flying give you? Cristián: It is the only thing that we as human beings are not able to do and I am able to do it. The view you get of a city or the ocean or the sunset is something you can not get anywhere else - only birds can do it. CCM: Other than acting, what do you love to do? Cristián: I do lots of sports–when days are a little gray there is nothing better than doing sports. The endorphins are better than Prozac. CCM: Tell us something people may not know about you. Cristián: I am more of a listener than a talker. If you listen you learn. I like to hear what others have to say about themselves. CCM: Finish this sentence - “In ten years I hope I am ______” Cristián: That I am as happy as I am today! Happiness is a decision - if you decide that you are going to be happy then you are. I try to decide every day - o.k. I’m happy, there is nothing to be unhappy about. CCM: Cristián, have you ever been to Tampa before? Cristián: No never and I am very excited to come to Tampa. I want to visit, learn, go different places and talk to people. And now that I know there are really good cigars there, I want to smoke one. CCM: What made you say yes to coming to the Gasparilla Film Festival in Tampa? Cristián: I have never been to Tampa and the festival honors Latinos so I definitely thought I should be there. CCM: We are looking forward to your visit to Tampa – is there anything else that you want our readers to know that we didn’t cover? Cristián: No, I think we covered it all and I don’t think you want to know that I have a dog named, Napolean. I love my dog, I treat him like he’s human. Everyone used to tell me you need a child, you need a daughter. He was my first son. CCM: Thank you Cristián, best of luck with your career. We are looking forward to meeting you at the Gasparilla Film Festival. Cristián: Thank you very much–have a great day and hopefully we will see each other soon.

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Voted by the Weekly Planet® Best of the Bay for “Best Drive-Thru Attendant” Carlos Nierdes Here at Cigar City Magazine, Carlos has our vote as well! He truly will make your day and he makes a great Café con Leche.







ost men and some women enjoyed a good smoke during the Victorian Era. As a result, cigar, cigarette and other tobacco companies were in strong competition with one another to attract buyers. At the same time stone lithography was being perfected by German immigrants and a long list of tobacco collectibles emerged, especially cigar labels. Many of these exquisite labels made their way into Victorian Scrapbooks, which were popular at the time. The Victorian Scrapbook is named after Alexandrina Victoria who reigned as Queen of England from 1837-1901. These scrapbooks came about when women, usually grandmothers and little girls, cut out various fashions of clothing from the Victorian Age magazines. They

also used business trade cards and any colorful items of interest such as cut outs of birds, animals, Indians and even Santa Claus. Cigar labels also found their way into these unique scrapbooks. We, the cigar label collectors, find ourselves in “high cotton” when we find a scrapbook containing our precious cigar labels. Cigar labels were not soaked off the cigar boxes, as most people believe. They were found at the lithographer’s place of business or, more likely, the labels came from a Salesman Sample book. The cigar labels were then carefully trimmed and a paste of flour and water was used to affix the label to an old business ledger or a large scrapbook made for this endeavor. The beauty of these labels interested adults and children alike.





he finest Victorian Scrapbook I have located contains 187 different cigar labels. Put together by a grandmother for her granddaughter, this book contains labels from the late 1870s and 1880s. This find is valued at over $40,000, using the few price guides that remain in existence. However, because of trimming and overall condition, much of this value is significantly reduced. The importance of finding scrapbooks, other than the monetary value, is the fact that these beautiful images have reached us after well over 100 years. My most significant find contains cigar label images that most collectors never knew existed. Several of these are scenes of the Signal Service, a 70year precursor to the Coast Guard, which was established in 1937. Dating a scrapbook is difficult at best. To accomplish this within a decade is quite adequate. The several methods I use are: Are any of the labels embossed? Embossing came about in 1892. Using the embossing plate made the cigar label industry go from wood pulp paper to rag paper. The wood pulp could not hold the embossing. If an old business ledger was used for the scrapbook, you might find a number of dates within the accounting. Look for dates on any of the items within the scrapbook, including the Salesman Sample labels. Differentiating between stone lithography and steel and zinc lithography can also help you narrow down the date. Stone lithography began in the very late 1790s, and steel and zinc lithograph occurred in the early 20th century. So, if you decide you want to be a collector of Victorian Scrapbooks, check out local antique stores, second hand book stores or find a dealer who will be more than happy to assist you. Of course, there is always eBay! Oh, and one more thing - if you ever run into a nice Victorian Scrapbook, it is imperative that you take the time to “Thank Heaven for grandmothers and little girls!� Si Bass is a collector of Victorian Scrapbooks and Cigar Labels and can be reached at







On March 3, 1845, President John Tyler signs into law the act granting statehood to Florida’s 57,921 inhabitants.

This landmark was located at 700 Tampa Street in downtown Tampa and was a great place to go on “date night.” This photograph was taken in 1950.

The Tampa Bay Hotel opened in 1891. It cost approximately 2.5 million dollars to build and $500,000 to furnish. It closed in 1932 and became the University of Tampa in 1933. When the battleship Maine was sunk on February 15, 1898 and President McKinley signed a declaration of war on April 24, 1898, Tampa became a port of embarkation for U.S. Troops headed to Cuba. Seven camps were established in the Tampa area: Fort Brooke, DeSoto Park, Palmetto Beach, Tampa Heights, Port Tampa, Ybor City and West Tampa. April 4, 1898, Chicago Tribune reported: “E.H. Gato, one of the most extensive manufacturers of cigars in this country, has ordered $150,000 worth of tobacco owned by him to be shipped to Tampa from Key West. He anticipates that Key West will be attacked by the Spanish fleet, and that property in that city will not be safe.” The Tampa Theatre opened on October 15, 1926 and the cost of admission was 25 cents. On April 16, 1941 MacDill Field is officially dedicated. More than 15,000 servicemen were stationed at this military base. Tampa’s 138 cigar factories produced 1,500,000 cigars in 1949. Elvis performed in Tampa on Sunday, July 31, 1955, at Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. Price of admission was $1.25 for general-admission with children under 12 admitted for 50 cents.

You can win a Cigar City Magazine t-shirt by correctly identifying this landmark. Simply mail the name of the structure and your contact information to Cigar City Magazine at P.O. Box 18613, Tampa, Florida 33679 by April 1, 2007. All correct entries will be entered into a drawing and one name will be selected as the winner. Good luck! Previous Lost Landmark: Tampa Chamber of Commerce The Tampa Chamber of Commerce began as the Tampa Board of Trade on May 7, 1885. On December 1, 1928, it changed its name to the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s stated mission is “To serve our members and enhance our community by building business success.” Congratulations to Rafael Martinez Ybor of Tampa who correctly identified the landmark and won a Cigar City Magazine t-shirt. MARCH/APRIL



The Deviled Crab Man By Marilyn Esperante Figueredo

On any given day you could find him riding his small scooter up and down the streets of Ybor City. You could not resist his deviled crabs–they were the best!

He was a fixture in Ybor City for many years and has become a legend to those of us lucky enough to have eaten one of his deviled crabs. His name was Francisco Oscar Miranda, but known to us as the Deviled Crab Man. Once you saw him, your challenge was to get in line as quickly as you could to make your purchase before he sold out! After you paid 10 cents, he would ask, “Con picante - sin picante” (With hot sauce or without)? I liked mine with lots of hot sauce. Each crab roll was wrapped in a type of wax paper twisted at both ends. He used the mouth of the bottle of hot sauce as a tool to open the paper and separate the warm breading. The savory crab filling was revealed as he shook the bottle to apply a generous amount. I have often thought about those deviled crabs through the years 54


and I am not the only one. On a recent visit to El Gallo de Oro Restaurant in West Tampa, I was having coffee with some of the old timers as they began to talk about Miranda deviled crabs and how good they were – some even remembered when they cost just 5 cents! When I commented that those deviled crabs would make a good story, someone mentioned that the Deviled Crab Man’s his son Jorge still lived in Tampa. A telephone book appeared at the table and a search was on for his number. It didn’t take long to find a listing for Jorge Miranda. My friend Eddie Contreras dialed the number on his cell phone and handed it over to me. The phone rang and was answered by a recording. I quickly sputtered out thea message, “If you are the son of the Deviled Crab Man will you call me at the following number?” All my buddies at the table smiled knowing their mission was accomplished as they returned

to drinking their coffee and talking on this Saturday morning. A few days later, to my surprise, he called. He said his father was Francisco Oscar Miranda and was known as the Deviled Crab Man. I asked if we could set up a time to talk and we agreed on a date to meet the following week. When the day arrived, Jorge and his wife invited me into their home. We sat at their dining room table as I eagerly began to ask him questions. For the next hour and a half, Cuban coffee sustained us while Jorge shared memories of his father and mother and their deviled crab business. Francisco was born in Tampa on October 23, 1903, to Francisco Miranda (born in Spain) and Rita LeMeren (born in France). They arrived in this country in the late 1800s and settled in Ybor City. When Francisco was 1 year old his family moved to Cuba and he did not return to Tampa until he was 20. This was when he first began to make and sell deviled crabs with the help of his wife Luisa Herrero. Francisco was an excellent cook and thought he could make steady money selling deviled crabs. Luisa worked for a while at Perfecto Garcia Cigar Factory, but eventually quit to help her husband full time. Each day he purchased 16 to 19 dozen live crabs from a local fisherman who was also named Miranda (no relation). The crabs came in large burlap sacks and were quickly cooked in boiling water. They were allowed to cool, and then Francisco and Luisa would begin the tedious task of cleaning and separating the meat from the shell. Jorge and his two brothers, Oscar and Louis, and their sister Margaret were expected to help each day when they arrived home from school. Sometimes Jorge’s Aunt Lucy Ayala also provided an extra hand. Large sacks of green peppers and onions were purchased as well as gallons of tomato sauce. A sofrito of the peppers and onions cooked in large pots and then the tomato sauce and other spices were added. The sauce was cooked for hours to give the flavors time to marry. The next step was to prepare day-old Cuban bread purchased from La Segunda Central bakery in Ybor City for use as breading. The hard-crusted bread was crumbled into large trays filled half way with water. The bread and water were mixed together until a mush was formed. Flour and baking soda were sprinkled in to make a sticky breading. The Cuban bread crumbs gave the deviled crab a thin coating so when you bit into the crab roll you tasted crab – not breading like you do with many of today’s deviled crabs. Jorge said his mother and father worked very hard, usually from 4:30 in the morning until 11 o’clock at night. After preparing the deviled crabs, his father would load up and travel from his home on 18th Avenue near Cuscaden Park and the Perfecto Garcia Cigar Factory to various points around Ybor City’s 7th Avenue, including an 11a.m. and 530p.m. trip to Tampa’s shipyard. The deviled crabs were kept inside a sealed box on top of his scooter. They were placed on a metal tray and warmed underneath by a can of lighted Sterno. Once all the crabs were sold, he headed

back home and loaded up again. Jorge spoke highly of his father and mother and said they did what they had to do to support their family. The money made from the sale of the deviled crabs went to give Jorge and his brothers and sister a good education. His sister Margaret completed business school; his brother Louis graduated from George Washington University, became a dental technician, and later worked for the post office. Oscar graduated from the University of Florida and became a radio and television engineer who worked for WFLA. Jorge worked for the post office like his brother Louis and retired after 39 years of service. All this was paid for with the money his father and mother made selling deviled crabs. Pride and appreciation were very evident in his voice as he spoke of his hardworking parents. Francisco Oscar Miranda continued making deviled crabs until the last six months of his life when his health deteriorated. He passed away on December 26, 1953, at the age of 50 and his wife Luisa died on Feb 20, 1972, at age 64. I think it says something that after fifty-four years people still talk about Miranda’s deviled crabs, how good they were and how they wish the Deviled Crab Man was still around. Sadly, those deviled crabs have faded into history just like Goody-Goody hamburgers and root beer served in frozen mugs at the A&W. For those of us lucky enough to have eaten those deviled crabs, we are spoiled and have joined the ranks of many searching for a deviled crab that can compare with those of the Deviled Crab Man.




Cigar City Magazine is proud to introduce you to Charles Mattocks, also known as “The Poor Chef.” He appears each day on the morning show “Daytime,” which is syndicated to eight NBC affiliates throughout the Southeast. This unique cooking show is based on the premise of creating tasty, creative and nutritious meals for two, while spending less than $7.00. “The Poor Chef” has agreed to share with us many of the delicious recipes featured on his show. We know you will enjoy preparing these simple, delicious yet inexpensive meals for you and your family.

Chicken Curry with Rice

Jordan Centeno was born in Wheatland, Wyoming, and found her passion for cooking from an early age. Jordan, a single mom and business professional now living in Tampa says, "My mom was a great cook and she started us off in the kitchen early." She now experiments with many new dishes but sticks to some of her old favorites that have that country flare. One of her son's favorite meals is this chicken curry with rice, 'It's healthy and fun to make, and even better to eat," Jordan laughs. "I can make this for about $6.93 and it feeds about 3 or 4 people." Cooking is her passion and she loves to see people happy, and good healthy food is one way to bring a smile to anyone's face.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2-10.5 oz cans coconut milk 5 cloves garlic, crushed 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 1/2 C frozen baby peas 4 large carrots, thinly sliced 1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp ground ginger 1 Tbsp curry powder salt & pepper to taste 1 Tbsp cornstarch hot sauce, optional 2 C jasmine rice, cooked

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Cut into 1/2” cubes. Place in bottom of stock pot or crock pot. Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the hot sauce and rice. Mix well. Cook on high temperature for 6 hours, covered, if using crock pot or 2 hours on medium heat, covered, if using stock pot. Stir occasionally. When chicken and vegetables are tender, strain over large bowl and reserve liquid. Set chicken and vegetables aside. Transfer liquid to medium sized sauce pot. Turn heat to medium high. Add cornstarch and stir well with a wire whisk, being careful to break up all clumps. Bring to boil and stir constantly for about one minute or until sauce thickens. Pour sauce over reserved chicken mixture and mix well to coat. Serve over a bed or hot rice. Add a few drops of hot sauce if desired. Serves 4 56



Dear Mama, I promised my grandfather that I would take him to a baseball game now that the season is about to begin. I’m looking forward to it but I have two obstacles…he doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish. Can you provide me with a few basic baseball terms in Spanish so that we can communicate during the game? Baseball Challenged Dear Challenged, Here are a few words that should get you through the game: Picher = Pitcher Quechre = Catcher Chor Estop = Shortstop Le Fil = Left Field Centre Fil = Center Field Rai Fil = Right Field Ampaya = Umpire Un Estrai = A Strike Un Ow = An Out Un Flai Pelota = Fly Ball Jonron = Homerun Dear Mama, I grew up in a home where my parents and grandparents were extremely superstitious and worried about bad luck. For instance, if a visitor came in one door and left from another they got upset. If I placed a hat on a bed or new shoes on a table I got scolded. Once I broke a mirror, and I had to wait seven hours before I could pick it up, then I had to take the broken pieces outside and bury them under the moonlight. Now as an adult, I find myself following these same practices–am I crazy? Just in Case Dear Just in Case, Yes! Dear Mama, Is it true that in the olden days, you would get your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped by an attendant, without asking, all for free, every time you went to a gas station? Self-service Dear Self-service, It’s true! Plus you didn’t pay for air, got trading stamps, only paid .35 cents for a gallon of gas and heard the words “thank you!” Those were the good old days!