Buildings Alive Tour Showcases Ybor City History

Hop aboard a Jolley Trolley and get an insider's look at Ybor City's most historic buildings.
 
For the third year, the Ybor City Museum Society is sponsoring the Buildings Alive Ybor City Architecture Hop. From 5-10 p.m. on March 6, trolleys will shuttle people along a route that showcases nine of Ybor's oldest buildings, including the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory, the Don Vicente Inn and The Cuban Club. There will be a scavenger hunt with prizes and from 8-10 p.m. an after party with live entertainment, food and beverages at the Ybor City Museum State Park garden.
 
Trolley guides will provide a few clues for the scavenger hunt as well as facts and legends about Ybor City. Hosts will be available at each building to talk about its history and current use.
 
When the society held its first architecture hop, it was planned as a one-time event. But the tour proved a great hit. The mix of buildings changes year to year. Bright House is the event's signature corporate sponsor. A $6,900 grant from the Ybor City Development Corporation helps fund the hop. Support also is provided by the American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter.
 
"It's become a real community event," says Chantal Hevia, president of the museum society. "You can come each year and still see something different or new."
 
One of the stops is at Design Styles Architecture on Columbus Drive. Nearly two years ago the firm relocated from Clearwater and spent about $300,000 restoring the approximately 74-year-old, two-story building. It once was a neighborhood grocery store that sold food and produce to Ybor's cigar workers.
  
"It's a perfect example (from Ybor's history) of people having retail downstairs and living upstairs," says Hevia.
 
Other stops will be at the Ybor City Museum Society, Carne Chophouse, Florida Business Interiors, USAmeriBank, and TMD Windows and Doors.
 
The hop starts at one of two registration and check-in points: Stantec, located at 2205 N. 20th St., with free parkng for 120 cars; and Centro Ybor, located at 1536 E. Seventh Ave, with parking one block away at Centro Ybor Garage.
 
Advance tickets must be purchased by Feb. 28 and are $35 or $25 for museum members. Tickets on the day of the event are $45 or $25 with a valid student identification.
 
For information call the museum at 813-247-1434 or visit its website
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Chantal Hevia, Ybor City Museum Society

Read more articles by Kathy Steele.

Kathy Steele is a feature writer and editor at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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