Historic Markers Across Florida

Roberts City

Marker ID:  
Location: on North Blvd in front of the Boys and Girls Club in Riverfront Park, Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 57.247    W 082° 28.085
  27.95411666    -82.46808333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQ8CH


In 1909, cigar manufacturer J.W. Roberts and Sons Company moved into an abandoned cigar factory on Garcia Avenue and Green Street. The neighborhood, bordered on the north and east by the Hillsborough River, on the south by Cass Street, and on the west by North Boulevard, was then reborn as Roberts City. Unusual among Tampa's neighborhoods, it included a mix of Italians, Spaniards, Cubans, African Americans, Bahamians and Anglos. African Americans could not escape the laws that mandated segregated facilities. Still, whites and blacks in Roberts City largely ignored Tampa's ethnic and racial social barriers.

Boxing played a prominent role in Roberts City and many world-renowned boxers trained at the Buena Vista Hotel. The neighborhood also had its own grocery, pharmacy, hotel, and fish market. In 1938, Clara Frye Hospital opened to serve the city's black population.

In the early and mid-1960s, almost all the homes and businesses in Roberts City were razed to make room for the interstate highway and for Tampa's Riverfront urban renewal project. Still, former residents of Roberts City fondly remember their neighborhood and sponsored this historic marker to remind others of the strong community that once thrived.

Hillsbourgh County Historical Advisory Council