Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, an influential cigar manufacturer and Cuban exile, came to the area looking to build a company town in 1885. The Ybor cigar factory was the largest in the world, employing more than 4,000 workers. From 1886 until the 1930s, Ybor City was a flourishing Latin community. People paid premium prices for hand-rolled cigars. Ybor City was the 'Cigar Capital of the World.' The cigar industry declined with the Depression, the advent of cigarettes and the introduction of cigar-making machines. Factories closed and families moved away. It was the end of an era.
The Ferlita Family
In 1896, the Ferlita family began baking in the La Joven Francesca Bakery. The original structure was destroyed in a fire. In 1923, the family rebuilt the current structure and continued to bake in Ybor City through the 1960s. At one time the bakery produced more than 5,000 loaves of bread per day. Today, the ovens still exist and offer visitors an opportunity to explore the bakery's history.
The Ybor City Museum garden is an ornamental garden. Although it is not historically significant, the garden is reflective of traditional Mediterranean style courtyards and is a popular location for events.