100 years of Howard Avenue: Bern’s Steakhouse to The Chatterbox

inside a restaurant with black and white booths, and red carpets
Photo via Bern's Steakhouse

The city of Tampa is turning 135, and to celebrate they’re spotlighting archives awareness week, a concept that will bring Tampa’s vibrant history to life through walking tours, lectures, archival footage and more. Tampa Bay History Center is a waterfront gem that offers multiple floors of Tampa, Florida, and world History. Larger than life ships, old cabins, cute citrus shops and more are housed inside the facility along the Tampa Riverwalk. It’s also home to a Columbia Restaurant, whose original location in Ybor City is one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in the U.S.

On July 14, at 11am, the Tampa Bay History Center will host “100 Years of SoHo.” Howard Avenue was originally the dividing line between the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County and has been home to a vibrant commercial district for over a century. From culinary icons like Bern’s, the Old Meeting House, and Alessi’s to nightlife joints like Tiny Tap and the Chatterbox, SOHO has long been a hot spot for Tampeños.

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Black and white photo of an old general store.
Li’l General Store at 1015 South Howard Avenue : Tampa, Fla.

Visitors are invited to explore archives from The Tampa Tribune, the Burgert Brothers Collection, and the Touchton Map Library to learn about over a hundred years of history along Howard Avenue.  The event is presented by Dr. Cameron Hunt McNabb, a fourth-generation Tampa native, who was a long-time resident on South Howard. She is an Associate Professor of Humanities at Southeastern University.

On Friday, July 15, The Tampa Bay History Center will host a Historic Ybor City Walking Tour at 10am. Visit Tampa’s only National Historic Landmark District and learn about early Ybor City people, social life and work culture. Stroll past mutual aid societies, the Ybor Cigar Factory and other key landmarks. Join the tour at the Cuban Club to hear the stories behind one of Florida’s oldest immigrant communities. Those interested in attending can register online.

Black and white photo of a three story building. An old car is driving off the distance.
Marjory Apartments with Howard Avenue Delicatessen, at southeast corner of South Howard (1200 block) and Marjory (2100 block) avenues : Tampa, Fla.

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