A visually and cartographically explicit narrative blog about Tampa's built history and development.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ybor tunnels myth comes to light again!

ABC news recently did a story on how the now mythic Ybor City tunnels may have once again been uncovered during recent downpours.
The Ybor City bootlegging tunnels are perhaps one of the greatest urban legends in the Tampa Bay area.  Solidified in popular culture in Scott Dietche's book "Cigar City Mafia" it is believed that bootleggers had dug tunnels under many of the establishments and clubs along the main drag in Ybor City connecting them to the port for illegal liquor shipments;
"Under the crowded streets of Ybor is a series of tunnels, the use of which has never been fully documented.  The tunnels run under some of the early gaming palaces and down along the streets toward the port of Tampa."  
The most recent sighting was on the Southwest Corner of 15th Street and 7th Ave, across from Czar Nightclub (former Los Novidades).  I went out later this week and it appears someone has left a stake around the area where this "hole" formed.
 The Southwest corner of 15th and 7th Avenue is the site of the former Blue Ribbon Supermarket which was family owned for years and then purchased by a developer in mid 2000.  However the building "mysteriously" went up in flames in August 2000, and was demolished the next day.  An interesting video from Fox 13 provides more of a background.

Photos from St. Pete Times (Article links above)
 Even more curious is the fact that the 1931 Sandborn Maps indicate that this address was home to the Ybor City Post Office.  Why would tunnels be built into a building which houses offices of the federal government?  Below is a picture of the building in the 1925 from the Burgert Bros. Collection. 

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