Park History, Macfarlane Family, and Baldomero Lopez Public Pool


Workers at Macfarlane park, circa 1908. 
Photo courtesy of  Arsenio Sanchez from West Tampa and the Cigar Industry,
Tampa Bay History magazine Spring/Summer 1991, USF Digital Collections.

At right: Macfarlane left Tampa for NYC, more for the cruise than to conduct business there, according to this Aug. 13, 1908 article in the TRIBUNE.


It is generally accepted history that Hugh Macfarlane donated forty acres of land on the west side of his property in West Tampa to the City of West Tampa.

Our history of the park today states that "Workers were hired by the city to drain and fill the land, and plant trees on it."  According to the Aug. 29, 1908 article below, the area was "a shallow, dried out cypress pond, handsomely grown up with large cypress and other trees." It does NOT refer to the park as "Macfarlane Park."

This 1931 Sanborn map is the earliest to show the area of Macfarlane Park.  Place your cursor on it to see where the park was approximately located on an 1852 plat map of Hillsborough Countiy.  The area indicates a swamp nearby, the size of which would vary depending on rainfall.

As presented here, you will see there is a discrepency in the timeline of Macfarlane Park's accepted history as it relates to when work started on building the park and when that property was deeded to the City of West Tampa.


On Dec. 30, 1924, two days before West Tampa was to be incorporated into the City of Tampa, a ceremony was held at Macfarlane Park to dedicate a new pavilion and two bronze tablets placed on it.  Many WT and Tampa VIPs were present, including Hugh Macfarlane and the current mayors of WT and Tampa.  One tablet is a documents the 1924 members of the governments of WT and Tampa and lists the mayors and city councilmen.  The other is a tribute to Macfarlane's generosity, and it states that he deeded his land to the City of West Tampa on Oct. 22, 1908. 

As seen in the next section, work on the park started in mid-August 1908, around 3 months before the deed transfer date on the bronze tablet of 1924.


This Aug. 29, 1908 article tells of plans to develop West Tampa's new park as an "amusement park."  Work had already begun and was being "rushed to completion."  It was described as being several blocks from "Armina Avenue," which was the original name of present day Armenia Avenue before it somehow changed.  This change was no official action by the city, it is likely the result of it having been misspelled on a map or in a newspaper article, then propagated over time.  Armina Avenue was named for the owner of a very early cigar factory located on this street in West Tampa.  When Macfarlane began to develop the area, the street was named Armina. 

The article goes on to say that the only thing needed to be done was to fill in the low areas with several feet of sand and clear out the underbrush.  The "swamp" nature of the land was probably seasonal, depending on the water level of this pond. Plans included adding ornamental trees, shrubs, and equipment such as swings, merry-go-rounds, roller coasters and possibly baseball grounds.

Macfarlane had just returned from his cruise to NYC and was presently driving around West Tampa checking out the improvements. The rest of the article tells of how well lit West Tampa was compared to Ybor City and Tampa, and the paving work done in the city.

The title "...BUILDING BY CITY" means "being built by the city" and is not being used as a noun to refer to a structure.




This Nov. 12, 1908 article tells of work having been started on a baseball diamond located centrally and convenient to all in the city.  It refers to it "in the City Park" but not by name.  Local teams were to be organized with a champion to be determined for the season. The article credits West Tampa cigar factory workers as some of the best ball players in South Florida who had represented Tampa baseball in past years.



This Dec. 1, 1908 article is the first one in the Tribune to mention the new park as "Macfarlane Park."  A long-time West Tampa goal of having a large pavilion is finally being planned for Macfarlane Park.  The "rustic pavilion" was to be 75 feet wide and 150 feet long.





This Dec. 3, 1908 TRIBUNE article says that the board of bond trustees of West Tampa has planned for two gymnasiums to be built at Macfarlane Park--one for boys, one for girls.

Notice also the park was having a perimeter fence put up.


Things were looking up in West Tampa and expectations for growth were at a high.  In these years, the term "completed" was used very loosely and usually meant the bare minimum.  From that point on, the rest of the construction was usually described as "improvements" and almost always started right after "completion."  In this case, Macfarlane Park was "completed" but paving was being rushed and an additional crew of men was put to work on the "improvements" at Macfarlane Park.

Mrs. Fred James was probably the wife of architect Fred James, who designed many of Tampa's buildings during this era, including the future Carnegie Library and many schools.



These December 10 & 11, 1908 articles describe again that the park was nearing completion and would open soon.  It was predicted to be a site for the amusement of the "countless thousands of workers employed in the big cigar factories..." as well as citizens of "GREATER TAMPA" (not Tampa BAY) Latins and Americans, and the thousands of tourists within the city's borders during the winter."  

"Endowed by nature with unusual beauty, giant cypresses rearing their huge forms a hundred feet into the air, their branches covered with the witching gray Spanish moss, gray and hanging far down toward the ground, the acme of fantastic decoration, Macfarlane Park will have all the natural charms enhanced a thousand fold by what is added by man, in the shape of rustic benches, summer houses, shady walks, and tinkling fountains.  There will be awnings for the children and ample grounds for baseball and other sports for the elders."

Notice here in this article Armina Avenue has been misspelled as "Armenia" within four months after the August article displayed earlier on this page.

Future improvements aren't mentioned, so the absence of mention of the gymnasiums and playground equipment doesn't necessarily mean they've been cut out of the plans.  "Much remains to be done."





Less than a year earlier, John Higley Drew filed his plan for a subdivision in northwest West Tampa.  Known as Drew's Subdivision, it included the property between the city limit at Tampa Bay Blvd on the north, and Michigan Ave. (today's Columbus Drive) on the south.  The western border was known as "Roosevelt Ave." back then, named for Col. and President Teddy Roosevelt.  Today it's called MacDill Avenue, named for Col. Leslie MacDill.  On the east was Habana Ave. 

Today this neighborhood is located in the northern half of the Macfarlane Park neighborhood, marked in purple to the right.

In April 1909, Drew would make his first addition to this subdivision by adding the area from Roosevelt Ave. westward to the city limit at Lincoln Avenue, between Tampa Bay Blvd and Michigan Ave., approximately doubling the area.






These images are from the University of So. Fla. Digital Commons, City of Tampa Plat Books collection.  Click the image to see it larger, then click it again to see it full size (2000 px wide.)


On the left are the images of John H. Drew's subdivisions filed on Mar. 25, 1907.  This is a composite image of page 3 and page 8 of plat book volume 3.  Drew named the streets for his children, some first names, some middle names.

The long range plat map below shows the location of the subdivision in relation to downtown.  In 1909 Drew would add areas 4 and 9 to the city limit at Lincoln Ave.


Explosives were being used to blast away the roots of large cypress trees at the center of the park so that the pavilion could be built "on a high mound."







The park and wooden pavilion were dedicated on April 25, 1909.

The original pavilion on the hill from "Ciudad de Cigars: West Tampa" by Armando Mendez.

A golf course was added in 1917.


A baseball game at Macfarlane Park in 1922, now the location of West Tampa Little League fields.
Notice the original pavilion on the hill at the upper left of the photo.
Photo courtesy of David Parsons, curator of the
Burgert Bros. collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Close up of the original pavilion on the hill, actual size from image above.



Macfarlane Park Municipal Golf Course, 1924.  It was a Par 3 course.
Photo courtesy of David Parsons, curator of the
Burgert Bros. collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Close up of golfers from above full size image.



Memories of the golf course in the 1950s by Rene Andy Barrios

Mr. Bolesta (we knew him as the old man), ran the golf course at Macfarlane Park. There was a small structure where the [Baldomero] Lopez pool stands today [Spruce St. and St. Vincent] and from there he would rent out clubs and charge for rounds of golf.  He was Henry Bolesta’s brother and a retired sheriff’s deputy that lived in an old house across from the course on St. Vincent.  One of our methods for acquiring that most elusive of commodities, CASH, was to walk the course looking for lost golf balls. We would then try to sell them to customers. Unfortunately it was a failing enterprise since there were not a lot of places for a ball to get lost in the dry, low lying grass of MacFarlane Park. We would also try to hire ourselves out as caddies, but we were woefully ignorant of the subtleties of the golf game.


The course started #1 teeing off from St. Vincent and Spruce towards the hill. Each hole went towards the hill or teed off from the hill (holes #1-#5) and it was entirely flat, no traps on the entire course.  #6 tee was at Main St. and Renfrew (in front of the Guida house, the green was near Laurel.)  #7 was the only "hilly hole" it traversed the diagonal path through the park (from the green of 6 to the tee of 8.)  #8 was from in front of Charley Bridges' house on Laurel to in front of our house on Maxwell and Main.  #9 teed off at Main and Maxwell and the green was in front of the hill.  If you walk around the Lincoln side of the hill there are some remnants of the greens, barely discernible.  The Tee at #9 in front of our house used to be very visible, don't know about now.

At left is one possible interpretation of Andy's description of the course, which was eliminated in the mid to late 1950s.   The aerial photo is from 1969.  The interstate highway seen at the bottom of the photo did not exist before the early 1960s.  When it was built, its right-of-way eliminated Laurel St.  Also, before the construction of the interstate, Green St. did not extend west of MacDill as it does in this photo.  The yellow outline marks the park's original boundaries.

Place your cursor on the image to see the area today.

There were a few Bolestas in Tampa from the 1920s to 1940s who made their livelihood in golf.  Frank Bolesta, who in the early 1900s was a fisherman, in 1920 was "golf links" and later a "greens keeper."  Joseph E. Bolesta, 52, was a caretaker of a golf course and may have been a nephew of Frank.   Henry F. Bolesta, a son of Frank, was a golf instructor at Palma Ceia Golf Club.  His brother, Lawrence, was also a golf instructor in the early 1930s, but in the 1940s he worked as a watchman for the City of Tampa parks dept.  Lawrence and his wife Alberta lived at 3002 St. Vincent, so it is likely that Lawrence was the "old man" in the mid 1950s who ran the Macfarlane Park golf course.  Frank's son, Raymond, was a commercial mullet fisherman.

1910 census of Frank & Mary Bolesta in West Tampa, with sons William, Raymond, Lawrence & Henry. 
Frank was a fisherman here, but later became a greens keeper. 





In December of 1924, the original pavilion on the hill was replaced by a reinforced concrete one at a cost of $5,000.   A bronze tablet in honor of Hugh Macfarlane was to be unveiled at the new pavilion on the hill at 3:30 p.m.  Current and final mayorof West Tampa Enrique Henriquez was to make the opening address.  Also to speak was Tampa Mayor/Commissioner Perry G. Wall.  Joe M. Rey, a member of the WT park committee, was to make the tablet dedication speech and do the unveiling.  He was probably a son or related to former West Tampa Mayor Peregrino Rey, the fourth mayor of West Tampa, who died in 1920.  Rey Park in WT is named for him.  Finally, Hugh Macfarlane would speak.






On December 30, 1924, two days before West Tampa was annexed by the city of Tampa, city VIPs gathered at a ceremony to dedicate the new pavilion on the hill and plaque, seen in the background. 

Present above were (left to right, some men not named, further identification below) West Tampa City Councilman Arturo Morales, next to him two men not named.  Then George Nelson Benjamin, Enrique Henriquez, Perry G. Wall (with cane, holding hat), attorney Hugh C. Macfarlane (with cane and glasses), Dr. Sumter L. Lowry,  Jose Vasquez, William A. Adams, and William James Barritt.  


Photo courtesy of  Arsenio Sanchez from West Tampa and the Cigar Industry, Tampa Bay History magazine Spring/Summer 1991, USF Digital Collections. (Public office info from Tampa City Council book 11th Edition, 2022.)  (It is possible that the 2nd from the left was Joe Rey)



Below, a better quality image, with two men cropped off on the left,  provided by Andrew Macfarlane - amacfar641 of
[Mouse-over the photo to see them identified.]

West Tampa Macfarlane Park new pavilion and tablet dedication, Dec. 30, 1924
Two days before WT was annexed into the City of Tampa.
L to R: Fifth West Tampa Mayor Blas F. O'Halloran,  Second West Tampa mayor George Nelson Benjamin.  Next is the sixth and final West Tampa mayor Enrique Henriquez, Tampa Mayor/City Commissioner Perry Green Wall (with cane, holding hat), attorney Hugh C. Macfarlane (with cane, glasses, holding hat).  In the back row is Tampa City Commissioner Dr. Sumter L. Lowry (namesake of Lowry Park), in the pinstripe suit in front is West Tampa City Councilman Jose Vasquez, then Tampa City Commissioner William A. Adams (namesake of Adams Park, renamed Robles Park), and Tampa City Commissioner  William James Barritt (namesake of Barritt Park). 


During the administration of Perry Wall, (and Charles Brown before him) the City Councilman were called City Commissioners and the mayor served as one of them under this form of government. 


Photo courtesy of Andrew Macfarlane, amacfar641 of  Further identification by TampaPix from viewing individual photos of the mayors at USF Digital Commons, Sunland Tribune, 1985 by Arsenio Sanchez, "Incentives Helped to Build West Tampa."


GEORGE NELSON BENJAMIN, West Tampa's second mayor 1897-1901, came to Tampa in 1875, was a West Tampa developer, bringing in cigar factories and donating land for a park which became the eventual site for Fort Homer Hesterly Armory. He was a native of Indiana.
Read about the armory at TampaPix.


BLAS F. O’HALLORAN, West Tampa's fifth mayor 1917-1921, also served as councilman several terms. A Key West native, he came to Tampa at age 13.  A member of the cigar-manufacturing O'Halloran family, he is credited with "rolling the cigar that sparked a revolution" known as the historic "Cigar of Liberty."   Blas was a Selective Service registrar in World War I and in later years with Lord and Fernandez Funeral Home.


The O'Halloran brothers

Blas, Estanislaus & Ignacio were sons of Cuban-born cigar maker Rafael O'Halloran and his wife, Francesca.
See "The Cigar That Sparked A Revolution" here at



ENRIQUE HENRIQUEZ was West Tampa’s 6th and last mayor, serving 1921-1924, until West Tampa joined Tampa. Born in Cuba, he held managerial positions, then became owner of Henriquez Cigar Co. in 1917. A councilman since 1907, he was elected mayor without opposition.


Descriptions from USF Digital Commons, Sunland Tribune, 1985 by Arsenio Sanchez, "Incentives Helped to Build West Tampa".




Due to a sore throat, mayor of West Tampa Enrique Henriquez, asked retiring West Tampa judge H. Blaine Peacock to read the speech Henrique had prepared.  This speech is included in the article below.


The article gives some information about the new pavilion, which was completed that day.  It was designed by John W. Biggar, a local architect, and made of reinforced concrete with a tile floor.  Each column had a blue medallion "on which a gold letter was emblazoned.  The whole spells 'Macfarlane Park.'" 



TampaPix has added color to this image from the Burgert Bros. collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System.



DID YOU KNOW?  West Tampa had a role in the 1925 landscaping of Davis Islands.

In 1925, real estate investor D. P. Davis was busy building Davis Islands.  Since virtually all of the vegetation native to the site had been displaced by the dredging operations, it was necessary to operate a nursery to provide trees and bushes for the development. A twenty acre nursery was started on Lincoln Avenue near Macfarlane Park with Frank Button, a landscape architect and director of landscaping at Coral Gables and Miami Beach who was placed in charge of the entire operation and D. D. Horvels, the superintendent. Thousands of palms, scrubs and flowers were grown for the project.  

(From THE STORY OF DAVIS ISLANDS 1924-1926 By DR. JAMES W. COVINGTON Professor of History University of Tampa, in THE SUNLAND TRIBUNE Volume IV Number 1 November, 1978 Journal of the TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.)

Read about Davis Islands and the mysterious disappearance of D. P. Daivs, here at TampaPix


The pavilion at the top of the "big hill" before the 2013 roof renovation.  Photo taken January 19, 2004.

This design is inlaid at the center of the terrazzo floor of the pavilion.  Photo taken January 19, 2004.  According to Rene Andy Barrios, the previous floor consisted of pink concrete square stones.


The terrazzo floor was installed in 1957 due to the efforts of George Guida and the West Tampa Optimist Club, West Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Lions Club and the American Legion Post 248.

Visit the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce website


Memories of "The Hill" by Rene Andy Barrios, 2014

Anyone visiting MacFarlane Park will immediately be drawn to the park’s center piece: La Glorieta, (gazebo) the octagonal shaped structure with round masonry arched supports sitting on top of a hill. We lived across the street from the park on Main St., and I saw that hill everyday of my life growing up in West Tampa. The original structure was rebuilt sometime in the mid twenties and by 1956 was in sad shape. The floor was pink concrete square stones; some were missing, many were cracked, and it was a hazard in a public space.

In 1957 I witnessed the removal of the existing floor and the installation of a new terrazzo floor. The West Tampa service clubs sponsored the repairs (I think) and Peter Hevia and Ardillo Benitez supervised the construction. The Hill recently was renovated again and is open again to the public.

One of the hill’s fascinations for the neighborhood boys involved the stucco finish on the roof’s support pillars. It was cut pieces of glass embedded in white stucco. Of course in this type of circumstance, in a group of eleven year olds, there is always someone who heard from someone who told another some fascinatingly unbelievable piece of information. In this case it was that some of the glass was actually valuable gem stones and there may actually be a diamond or two on the wall! So, naturally we did what any curious, naïve youngster would do, we visually scoured each pillar carefully looking for that diamond. Once in a while someone who say “I think I found it!” and we would all race over to inspect the potential windfall. If we agreed that it was a promising candidate we would try , to no avail, to dislodge the glass! Those rascally plasterers and their Old World skill thwarted our efforts. We never did cash in on our fantasy of finding a diamond.

The pavilion columns and arches are covered in the original unpolished terrazzo which is quite colorful when viewed from up close.

Another rumor, this authenticated by our group’s resident expert on everything, Bob MacCafferty, was that there had been a plane crash when the park was a swamp and the lady that died in the crash had a huge diamond ring that was never recovered. So of course we walked around the park, head down looking for that diamond ring. Another fantasy came crashing down around our naïve ears.


Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn recently declared Jan 26, 2012 as West Tampa Day.

WHEREAS, West Tampa, Florida was established in 1892 when Hugh C. Macfarlane purchased 200 acres of land just west of the Hillsborough River for development, and within just a few short years, thousands of people moved into the area, and on May 18, 1895 West Tampa was incorporated. By 1905 it became Florida’s fifth largest city, and in 1925 the City of West Tampa was annexed by the City of Tampa; and

WHEREAS, today West Tampa remains a neighborhood rich in tradition and historical buildings, and is a vital and vibrant Tampa neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce was established in 1929 and its mission is to provide leadership and business opportunities that foster growth and quality of life while preserving the historical values of the West Tampa Community; and

WHEREAS, the West Tampa Optimist Club was founded in 1948 and is committed to “Bringing out the Best in Kids” in the community through its support of civic service clubs such as the West Tampa Boys & Girls Club, Salvation Army, youth sports organizations, and scholarship programs, and its efforts over the past 63 years have resulted in many awards and recognitions from Optimist International’s national and regional divisions; and

WHEREAS, annually the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the West Tampa Optimist Club  bestow the George Guida Memorial Outstanding Citizen of West Tampa Award to an individual for their continuous service to the West Tampa Community and for meeting the criteria of having held an executive office in a civic club or community project, and has served in community activities, fundraising or active leadership; and

WHEREAS, on January 26, 2012, the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce will honor City of Tampa Councilman Charlie Miranda, District 6, with the George Guida Memorial Outstanding Citizen of West Tampa Award for his long time dedication and contributions to West Tampa.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bob Buckhorn, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Tampa, Florida, do hereby proclaim January 26, 2012 as “WEST TAMPA DAY” in the City of Tampa, Florida, and encourage all citizens to join me in congratulating Councilman Charlie Miranda on this deserving recognition, and thanking the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce and West Tampa Optimist Club for the commitment and leadership dedicated to the residents and business community of West Tampa.

Dated in Tampa, Florida, this 20th day of January, 2012.


In 2012, the pavilion and roof were deteriorating and in dire need of care.

Pavilion Renovation
Feb. 28, 2013

After being fenced off for over a year, the roof which was deemed a safety hazard was finally being replaced.  Plans were to rebuild it to look like the existing structure.  The contractor was Certus Builders.

See the plans

There were no plans to repair the floor, only that Certus must repair any damage they may cause while working on the roof.  These cracks already existed before the job began.


March 22, 2013

The new roof was in place, not yet complete.





April 16, 2013

Roof and ceiling completed, lighting yet to be installed.

A view from the stairs leading up from George Guida Drive.


A view looking east at George Guida Memorial Drive.  The floor still needs repair.

A fine job done by Certus Builders.
See photos on their website



Mike Baluja's tribute to Macfarlane Park keeps West Tampa memories alive with a song that expresses what we all long for--those good times and good memories of our hometown back when things seemed simpler and more innocent.

Visit Mike's YouTube channel






The Racquetball Court Murals

The original mural created in 1990 by José Rodeiro.
Photo from the artist's website.

 TAMPA THE CRADLE OF CUBAN INDEPENDENCE, enamel-on-mdo, 40’ x 20,’ 1990, (Property of the City of Tampa)

From the artist's website:  In West Tampa’s McFarlane [sic] Park, José Rodeiro attempted (using his imagination and “artistic-license”) to create a mural examining key heroes of Cuba’s War for Independence (Spanish American War). In this mural, Rodeiro painted historic individuals who had strong affinities or historic connection(s) with the Tampa Bay Area. Thus, Rodeiro’s grand manner mural presents: José Martí (the poet liberator of Cuba); Antonio Maceo (the brilliant guerrilla-fighter: “The Bronze Titan”); and Teddy Roosevelt (leader of the “Rough Riders”) and other heroes, who are all atemporally, simultaneously, and Amnesisly charging across a stretch of Cuban beach ardently attacking Spanish imperial forces. This imaginative West Tampa fabulation is an endeavor (by Rodeiro) to create a 2-D Mount Rushmore, which frankly and honestly places Tampa (Florida) at the inception of Cuba’s late-19th Century (fin de’siécle) liberation. (Photographs provided by Dr. Philip Allen and Ms Susan Allen, the photographer).

Sadly, after a dozen years of direct exposure to intense Florida sunlight and torrential rains and winds, the image faded. The work was removed in 2006. Nevertheless, the facts remain: José Martí raised money and weapons in Ybor City, Tampa for the Cuban cause (una Cuba Libre). Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders used Ybor City as the staging-area for their attack on the Spaniards in Cuba. Dr. Remember Maceo-Gomez (Maceo’s granddaughter) and her family, after departing Castro’s Cuba, settled in Tampa.

The photo at left shows the badly-faded mural which was painted on the east wall of the racquetball courts. 

The city removed the mural and for a while it was a blank wall.

Photos at left and right and info courtesy of Maura Barrios, West Tampa historian, who along with other West Tampa citizens, lobbied the city to install a new mural. 


Due to their efforts, the city of Tampa awarded a grant for West Tampa artists Guillermo Portieles and Edgar Sanchez Cumbas to paint a new historic mural.  Maura was the consultant for beautiful new mural.

Nov. 5, 2007, unveiling of the new mural with Guillermo Portieles, Mayor Pam Iorio and Edgar Sanchez Cumbas.
Photo courtesy of City of Tampa

Project Description: In their initial concept, artists Edgar Sanchez Cumbas and Guillermo Portieles wanted to represent the hard working individuals in West Tampa “who embraced a thriving a social and cultural community through its broad mix of nationalities and religions.” From this concept and through much input from community leaders and historians, the mural “Kaleidoscope: a Heritage of Color” was created. The mural, commissioned by the City of Tampa, Public Art Program, features five influential figures in Tampa’s history. Individuals depicted in the mural are: Robert “Bob” Saunders, civil rights activist, NAACP Florida director (late 1950s - mid 1960s), Luisa Capetillo, women’s rights activist (early 1900s), Jose Marti, leader of Cuban independence from Spain, poet and writer (late 1800s), Hugh Macfarlane, Scottish immigrant & attorney - founded West Tampa (1892), and Fernando Figueredo, first Mayor of West Tampa, (1895).


Depicted on the mural, left to right:

Robert Saunders
Luisa Capetillo
Jose Marti,
Hugh Macfarlane
Fernando Figueredo


In addition to above links, click on each face to read more about these influential people.


McFarlane Park Mural plaque reduced.JPG (62636 bytes)Click to read the plaque

The Artists: 

Edgar Sanchez Cumbas                   Guillermo Portieles

News release at TampaGov              Entry in Tampa's Public Art     


Read about Jose Marti and Fernando Figueredo's role in "The Cigar That Sparked A Revolution."



The Baldomero Lopez public pool at 3200 W. Spruce Street and St. Vincent Street, 2004.
The pool was completed and dedicated in 1964 in honor of Tampa native Baldomero Lopez, a first lieutenant from Tampa in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for smothering a hand grenade with his own body during the Inchon Landing on September 15, 1950.  The pool, which resembles the shape of a key, has a max capacity of 80 and is 9 feet deep at one end.  The pool closed permanently after Labor Day of 2007.

As taxes go down, 2 pools will be closed, St. Pete Times, July 6, 2007
Mayor Iorio layoffs hit parks and recreation department hardest, July 29, 2007

The pool was filled in and demolished in 2019 during Mayor Buckhorn's term to prevent spread of the Zika virus, a primarily mosquito-borne disease.


Baldomero Lopez U.S. Marine Corps photo from Wikipedia

Lopez was born to parents Baldomero and Leonor Lopez on August 23, 1925 in Tampa, and grew up in the neighborhood of Ybor City. His father had immigrated to the United States from the Asturias region of Spain as a young man.  The younger Lopez attended Hillsborough High School, where he was an accomplished basketball player and a regimental commander in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. He enlisted in the United States Navy on July 8, 1943, shortly after graduating from high school, and served until June 11 of the next year.

He was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in the midst of World War II, and because of the ongoing war he and his classmates were placed in an accelerated three-year program. Upon graduating on June 6, 1947, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He attended The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, after which he became a platoon commander in the Platoon Leaders Class Training Regiment.  In 1948, Lopez went to China, where he served as a mortar section commander and later as a rifle platoon commander at Tsingtao and Shanghai. On his return from China he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, California. He was serving there when, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean war, he volunteered for duty as an infantry officer in Korea. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on June 16, 1950.

In Korea, Lopez served as Platoon Commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced). On September 15, 1950, he took part in the amphibious invasion of Incheon. After landing on the beach, he was captured in an iconic photograph by Marguerite Higgins, leading his men over a seawall. Moments later, while preparing to throw a hand grenade into a North Korean bunker, he was struck by automatic weapon fire in the chest and right shoulder, causing him to drop the activated device. Although wounded, he crawled toward the grenade and, unable to throw it because of his injuries, pulled it under his body to shield others from the blast. He was killed in the resulting explosion and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball presented the medal to Lopez's parents during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on August 30, 1951.


News of his death spread quickly among fellow Marines on the battlefronts. A Scripps-Howard war correspondent, Jerry Thorp, said in a news story on Lopez's deed that he "died with the courage that makes men great."

Historic marker at Florida Ave. and Madison St., downtown

Lopez was buried at the Centro Asturiano Memorial Park Cemetery in Tampa.

Read more about Baldomero Lopez at Wikipedia, where some of above information was obtained.

Yearbook quotation from Grayson Kamm's, "Why do they call it that?"
    Photo from American GI Forum

Lieutenant Lopez leading his men over the seawall at Inchon several minutes before his death.  Photo by Marguerite Higgins Hall, an American reporter and war correspondent. Higgins covered World War II, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam, and in the process advanced the cause of equal access for female war correspondents.

In his Hillsborough High School yearbook it is written about Lopez:  "Being one of the biggest-hearted, best-natured fellows in the brigade has won Lobo a vast number of friends."  Baldomero was affectionately known as Lobo Lopez, Punchy Lopez, and -- to his family and friends -- Baldy Lopez.

Several structures have been named in Lopez's honor, including a state nursing home and Lopez Elementary School in Seffner, built in 1984, the first two-story elementary school built since the early 1920s.  A Korean War memorial at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa was opened on November 11, 2007, and dedicated to Lopez. The memorial features a rock from the beach at Incheon. 

Monument to honor War Hero, St. Pete Times, Nov. 9, 2007

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command named a container ship after him, the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK-3010). In Bancroft Hall, the U.S. Naval Academy dormitory, a room is dedicated to him (Room No. 3021), with a display including his photo and a bronze plaque of his Medal of Honor citation. There is also the Baldomero Lopez State Veteran' nursing home (1999) in Land O'Lakes FL at 6919 Parkway Blvd. Lopez's Medal of Honor remains in the possession of his extended family.

Lopez Elementary School, Seffner

MV 1st LT. Baldomero Lopez (AK-3010)




Hugh C. Macfarlane
Photo courtesy of USF Digital Collections


From Scotland to Fall River, Massachusetts

Hugh C. Macfarlane was born in Pollock Shaws, Renefewshire, Scotland, December 28, 1851.  He was one of several children of Scottish parents James D. Macfarlane and Anne Campbell.  The family immigrated to the United States on the SS Caledonia from Glasgow in Sept. 1865 when Hugh was 14, arriving first at Fall River, Massachusetts.

Children of James Dick Macfarlane and Anne Campbell, according to Clan Macfarlane Genealogy, rearranged here in birth order:

1. Mary Macfarlane, b. 10 Feb 1846, Renfrewshire, Scotland
2. Margaret Macfarlane, b. 9 Dec 1848, Renfrewshire, Scotland
3. Hugh Campbell Macfarlane, b. 28 Dec 1851, Renfrewshire, Scotland
4. Janet Dick Macfarlane, b. 19 Nov 1854, Renfrewshire, Scotland
5. David Stewart McFarlan [MacFarlane], b. 31 May 1857, Renfrewshire, Scotland
6. Anne McFarlan [MacFarlane], b. 22 Jun 1859, Renfrewshire, Scotland
7. Matthew Biggar Macfarlane, b. 20 Mar 1861, Renfrewshire, Scotland
8. Elizabeth McFarlan [MacFarlane], b. 6 Oct 1863, Tradeston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland

The Macfarlanes in Minnesota

They soon settled about 100 miles north of St. Paul, Minnesota, at Sauk Centre, in Raymond, Minnesota, where in 1870, Hugh's father, James, worked in a cotton mill and Hugh worked as a farm laborer.






The 1870 census of Stearns County, MN shows James and wife Ann, ages 47 and 48, with their children Margaret 20, Hugh 18, Jeanet 15, David 13, Annie 10, and Matthew 9.

Under Matthew is listed Wm Brown, carpenter.  His wife is Mary (Macfarlane), 24, oldest child of James and Ann Macfarlane

No evidence of Elizabeth Macfarlane who would have been around 6 years old at this time.


Hugh Macfarlane's Education & Career, Boston & Fall River, Mass.

Hugh Macfarlane attended school at Saint John’s College, Minnesota, then moved to Boston where he was employed as a newspaper reporter before enrolling full time as a law student at Boston University.  He received his law degree in 1876 from Boston University and was admitted to practice in Bristol County, Massachusetts, where he practiced for 8 years.**

In 1875, Hugh's parents relocated back to Fall River.

Upon graduation, Hugh was admitted to the Massachusetts bar, and partnered with Jonathan Wood to open a law office on Borden Block called Wood & Macfarlane.

**The next available city directory for Fall River, Mass. is 1882.  In it, Jonathan Wood is listed as a lawyer at 19 & 20 Borden Block, but his law partner Hugh Macfarlane is not mentioned under lawyers or in the "M" names listings. 

Hugh Macfarlane's First Marriage and Son, James

Soon after opening his practice, Hugh Macfarlane married Sarah A. Rowen, a Massachusetts native whose parents hailed from Ireland.

Fall River, Massachusetts marriages for 1879.  Hugh Macfarlane and Sarah A Rowen were married on Feb. 27, 1879.  Hugh was a lawyer, age 26, Sarah was 24. It was the first marriage for both of them.  Sarah's parents were John and Sarah Rowen.

The Macfarlane Family back in Fall River, Mass., 1880

The 1880 census shows the Macfarlane family at 45 Walnut St. in Fall River.  James and Annie were both 57; James worked in a cotton mill.  According to city directories, he was a weaver.  His son Matthew was a loom fixer.  Hugh and three of his siblings were still living with them--James, Annie and Matthew.  Hugh and his wife Sarah were 28 & 27, and their son James was born in March of that year; he was 3 months old.

Hugh Macfarlane's Divorce and Move to Tampa

Hugh's marriage was a short one; after Sarah gave birth to a son, James, the couple divorced, and Hugh decided to begin a new life by moving to New Orleans.   It appears that Hugh left Fall River by 1882, but no record of him has been found in New Orleans from 1882 to 1887.

It was in the sunny Southern city that Macfarlane first heard about Tampa, a tiny coastal village along Florida’s west coast. Stories of the village evidently intrigued him, since he decided to move to the sleepy Gulf Coast settlement when he was thirty three years of age.  The story goes, he arrived in Tampa in March of 1884, he was an experienced lawyer with a law degree from Boston University, but no record of him on the 1885 Florida State Census of Tampa has been found.  Instead, his next wife, Ida Frances Pettingill, is found listed in 1885 as a 29 year old merchant, living with her widowed mother and siblings. 

Hugh's brother, David S. Macfarlane, came to Tampa with his family by 1885, and his brother, Matthew B. Macfarlane soon followed.  See Hugh Macfarlane Family below.

Hugh served as City Attorney of Tampa from 1887-1890. In 1893 Governor Mitchell appointed him State’s attorney of the Sixth Judicial District. Macfarlane served as a member of the Board of Public works of Tampa for several years, and also a member of the Board of Port Commissioners, and was also Superintendent of the Board of Public Works of West Tampa.


The Founding of West Tampa
In 1892, inspired by the actions of Vicente Martinez Ybor six years earlier, Macfarlane offered free land and buildings to cigar manufacturers a few miles northwest of Tampa proper.


In order to develop West Tampa as Hillsborough County’s second cigar manufacturing area, in 1892, Macfarlane and his partners financed the first bridge across the Hillsborough River, the iron Fortune Street bridge. In the fall of 1892, the Macfarlane Investment Company helped start a streetcar route from downtown Tampa into West Tampa, as part of the Consumers Electric Light and Power Company system. His initiative paid off. In 1895 West Tampa incorporated as its own city and came to rival Ybor City in cigar production.   By 1900, good transportation and communication between West Tampa and Tampa’s port facilities were essential factors in making the new community competitive with Ybor City and Tampa for new factories and businesses.







In July, 1909, Hugh Macfarlane applied for a passport.  On it he states he was born Dec. 28, 1851 in Glasgow, Scotland and came to the U.S. on the SS Caledonia in Sept. 1865.  He also says he resided at Fall River, Mass. and Stearns Co., MN and has resided in Tampa since 1884.  He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. on March 1, 1902.  His occupation was attorney at law and intended to travel abroad for 3 months.  He was 57, 5 ft. 8 in. tall, grey hair, blue eyes.  A witness to his identity was Wm. Frazier Himes, for whom Tampa's Himes Avenue is named.  Notice that Macfarlane did NOT capitalize the "f" in his name.


  Click thumbnail to see larger  

In 1908, he contributed forty acres of drained land for the formation of Macfarlane Park. In 1912, he diligently assisted to receive assistance from his fellow Scottish immigrants’ foundation for the construction of two Andrew Carnegie libraries, one in Tampa, the other in West Tampa. His community participation included membership in several fraternal orders: the West Tampa Board of Public Works, Port Commissioners, and a life member of the Rocky Point Golf Club. In addition, he maintained membership in local, state and national bar associations.


After West Tampa’s success, Macfarlane devoted his time between real estate interests and law practice, serving as the top criminal lawyer of the state. He always maintained a personal interest in the laborers and citizens of West Tampa, giving generously, often without publicity, to both individuals and organizations.


On Jan. 1, 1925, West Tampa was annexed into greater Tampa.




Hugh Macfarlane, Ida Frances Pettingill Macfarlane, and their
two children, Mary and Howard.

Frances is probably the namesake for Frances Avenue in West Tampa, which ran just east of Howard Ave.  Today the street is named Albany.

Hugh Macfarlane Family

Soon after his arrival in Tampa, Hugh Macfarlane married on April 14, 1887 to Maine native Ida Frances Pettingill, a daughter of Maine natives Howard Pettingill and Caroline A. Homans


Hugh and Frances had two children: Howard Pettingill Macfarlane (1888) and Mary Elizabeth Macfarlane (1895) who married Robert D. Hoyt.


The family grew and prospered together in Tampa, becoming important in both economic and social circles. Hugh maintained his prosperous legal career throughout his lifetime and was noted as a gifted orator, "whose appearance in the courtroom brought an aura of respect from all present."


James D. Macfarlane, Hugh's son from his first marriage, came to Tampa in 1905, married, and held executive positions in two Macfarlane companies for about 10 years.  He also served as Mayor of West Tampa.  See 1906 city directory below.


Howard Pettingill Macfarlane, for whom Howard Avenue is named.  He was named for his maternal grandfather, Howard Pettingill.

Howard and Caroline Pettingill are on the 1850 census of Augusta, ME, and the 1860 and 1870 Census of Augusta, ME, with Ida Frances.

Click thumbnail to see their 1870 Census


Tampa's 1899 city directory shows Hugh Macfarlane maintained his law practice at his firm, Macfarlane & Shackleford (with T.M. Shackleford and G.L. Larimore.) Hugh was also the treasurer of Macfarlane Investment Co. (of which his brother-in-law, Noah B. K. Pettingill was president.)  Hugh and his family lived on Michigan Ave. and Highland Ave. 

Matthew B. Macfarlane, Hugh's brother, was a collector at the US Customs house and also maintained a law practice at his firm, Macfarlane & Raney.

David S. Macfarlane was also Hugh's brother.  David came to Tampa by 1885 from Fall River, Mass.  In Tampa he was a shoe merchant with Robert Roy Glenn of Macfarlane & Glenn.  David's first wife is listed here as Mrs. Emma on Palm Ave.  Emma (Simmons) and David were divorced by this time.  The 1885 Florida state census of Tampa shows David, 28, Merchant, wife Emma A. 27, and daughters Annie M. 7, Sarah H. 5, Eliza 3, Emma 1.

George Rae Macfarlane was a first cousin to Hugh. His censuses in Tampa indicate that he was born in Scotland in 1862; thus was about 11 years younger than Hugh.  According to his great-granddaughter, he came to Tampa because he had family here already.  George was also a collector at the US Customs.  He was married to Nellie Harden and had a daughter named Mary Rae Macfarlane, born circa 1898.

By 1903, Hugh's law firm was Macfarlane & Glen, with partners James F. and Robert F. Glen.  Hugh was also the treasurer and manager of Macfarlane Investment Co., Wm. B. Henderson, Pres.

Hugh's brother, Matthew, was still an attorney at Macfarlane & Raney, as well as a US Customs collector at the Custom House.

Hugh's brother, David, shows no business and the shoe company of Macfarlane and Glenn is not mentioned.  He is now married to Carrie.  Mrs. Emma A. is his ex-wife and their daughters are Emma and Annie, who now works with the US Customs house as a cashier.

George, R. Macfarlane was a general insurance agent and special dept. collector with US Customs.




By 1905, in addition to being treasurer and manager of the Macfarlane Investment Co., (W. B. Henderson, Pres.) Hugh was treasurer of the West Tampa Building & Loan Assn. (Hugh Brady, Pres.) on Frances Ave. in West Tampa.  Hugh's law practice was still Macfarlane & Glen.

Hugh's brother, Matthew, continued as a collector for US Customs, but his law practice now had become Macfarlane & McKay.  In the mid 1910s, his firm was Macfarlane & Chancey (Robert E. Lee Chancey, a mayor of Tampa.)

George was still with the US Customs office, and had his law practice with Hendry & Macfarlane.  Hugh's brother, David, is not listed in this year.  No sign of him or his 2nd wife, Connie, has been found in directories or censuses after 1903.

By 1906, Hugh was still treasurer of Macfarlane Investment Co. and still practiced law with Macfarlane & Glen, but he was no longer treasurer of the West Tampa Building & Loan Assn.

Hugh's son from his first marriage, James Dick Macfarlane, who had become a bookkeeper in Fall River, Mass., came to Tampa by 1906 and served as the president of the Macfarlane Investment Company, and treasurer of the West Tampa Building and Loan Assoc. from 1906 to 1917.


James also served as the Mayor of West Tampa from 1912 to 1917.  He then returned to his home in Fall River, Mass. with his wife Olive and daughter Ruth.


Tampa's 1934 city directory shows Frances Macfarlane served as VP of the Macfarlane Investment Co.

Hugh and his son Howard were both with Macfarlane, Pettingill, Macfarlane and Fowler.



Matthew B. Macfarlane bio and photo from "Men of the South: a work for the newspaper reference library" at State University System of Florida PALMM Project


Howard Pettingill Macfarlane

Hugh and Frances' son, Howard P. Macfarlane, was also an attorney, secretary of the Macfarlane Investment Co. and West Tampa city attorney.  By the 1920s, Howard practiced law with his father at Macfarlane and Macfarlane.

Howard married Carolyn Kenyon around 1914 and had daughter Jean Fries Macfarlane Feb. 8, 1915, son Hugh Campbell Macfarlane Aug. 30, 1917 and daughter Anne Pettingill Macfarlane Nov. 2, 1923.

Howard enlisted for WW1 with the US Army at Oglethorpe, GA on Jan. 3, 1918 where he served as a Private of Infantry, First Class at 3rd Officer's training corps until April 15, 1918.

On that date, he was recommended for commission as 2nd Lieut. of Infantry and assigned with rank of Sergeant to 54th Infantry until June 1, 1918.  At that time, he was transferred to Infantry Replacements, Training Ctr, Camp Lee, VA, and discharged for purpose of making eligible for commission.  Commissioned 2nd Lieut. Infantry.  In this capacity, he served in the 7th Battalion at Camp Lee, VA until his discharge on June 1, 1919.


Sons of the American Revolution

In March of 1928, Howard P. Macfarlane was accepted into the Florida Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.  On his application, he traced his ancestry through his mother, Ida Frances Pettingill, back to Benjamin Pettingill, who was born in Abington, Mass. on Feb 16, 1719, son of Daniel Pettingill and Esther French, and died in Hallowell, Maine, 1796.  Howard states:

My great-great-great grandfather, Benjamin Pettingill, was in Captain Keith's company of of Col. John Daggett's regiment  that left Easton Dec. 28, 1776 to oppose the British who had captured Newport, R.I.  He was chairman of committee in 1780 to report the service rendered the country by the citizens of the town during the revolution.

My great-great grandfather, Benjamim Pettingill, was a Corporal in Captain Keith's Company of Col. Daggett's regiment.

My great grandfather, Howard Pettingill, III, served in the War of 1812 in Capt. J. Leonard's Co. Col. J. Stone's regiment.


Notice (4) Mary Howard, the source of the name "Howard" that would eventually become the avenue in West Tampa.

As proof of this genealogy, Howard cites "A Pettingill Genealogy" compiled by John Mason Pettingill, published in 1906 by Charles Henry Pope, Boston, Mass.  Also, "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors" Vol. 12, p268.


S.S. Letitia Passenger List, 1928

Hugh and his wife Frances returned from a trip to Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 16, 1928 at the port of Quebec.  With them were their son Howard's children, Jean and Hugh.  The manifest records their birth dates.  Frances' birth place is not correct, she was from Augusta, Maine.


Ida Frances Macfarlane
Photo courtesy of USF Special Collections

Ida Frances Pettingill Macfarlane, helped establish the Tampa Children's Home for orphans. She served on the original committee and acted as secretary at the incorporation in 1898. Mrs. Macfarlane served as president of the Home from 1906 to 1911, but her influence extended far beyond that time. She continued to be a vital member of the organization, along with Bena Maas (wife of Abe Maas of Maas Bros) well into the 1930s.

By the eve of the depression of the 1930s these two women had helped the Children’s Home face many national and local emergencies. The First World War created an economic bonanza for Tampa’s port and shipbuilding industries, but it caused adversity for those who lost husbands and fathers in the fighting. In 1920 the cigar industry experienced a ten-month strike which closed factories and contributed to the hardship of many workers and their families. That same year the Children’s Home burned beyond repair. After thirty months in a West Tampa building provided by businessman August Mugge, the youngsters moved into a new home on Florida Avenue constructed on land donated by Hugh Macfarlane and his partner, Dr. E.S. Crill.  By the end of 1925 the Florida real estate boom collapsed. Coupled with the violent hurricane of 1926 and the infestation of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Florida’s economic fortunes sank.




Read the whole article:  THE TAMPA CHILDREN’S HOME DURING THE DEPRESSION YEARS by Janet M. Hall, Tampa Bay History Magazine

The original Children's Home at 3302 Florida Ave., 1914
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the
Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library

The Children's Home at 3302 Florida Ave. in 1924
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the
Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library


Hugh Macfarlane remained active in law, forming several law firms until his death at his residence January 7, 1935 at age 83. . His obituary fondly described him as having the "canniness of a Scot, the resourcefulness of an American, and the genuine wit and wisdom of a Florida Cracker." Indeed, his life as a Florida Pioneer enriched not only his local community but also his state and nation.


See these excellent articles about Hugh Macfarlane and the development of West Tampa and the park, sources for information presented in this feature:

Other Sources:  Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen, THE TAMPA CHILDREN’S HOME DURING THE DEPRESSION YEARS by Janet M. Hall, Tampa Bay History Magazine




Three views from the top of the hill, Jan. 19, 2004.

Spruce Street separates the park from the West Tampa Little League fields seen on the left.



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