Florida Local News, Politics, Sports & Business

Tampa Bay isn’t the identify of a metropolis, locals say. Historical past proves it was. – Tampa Bay Occasions

TAMPA BAY — Mario Núñez has opinions, sturdy ones, about how Tampa ought to be promoted.

What ought to a Tampa resident be referred to as?

Tampeño,” stated Núñez, host of The Tampa Natives Present that celebrates town’s historical past. “Finish of debate.”

The Tampa flag?

“Hideous,” he stated. “Finish of debate”

However one Tampa-centric query specifically will get Núñez’ blood boiling hotter than a pot of crab chilau. What does he consider the time period Tampa Bay to explain the realm?

“I hate it,” he stated. “Tampa Bay is water. Tampa Bay doesn’t have a zipper code. Due to this fact, it bodily doesn’t exist.”

Truly, it was once a bodily place with a postal deal with, however extra on that later.

For the reason that Nineteen Seventies, Tampa Bay has been the nationwide, mainstream, and all-encompassing descriptor for the group of the cities across the physique of water. Many years later, locals stay cut up on the time period, with residents on either side of the bridge fearing it strips cities of individuality.

“The issue is that it was meant to make clear the area however is now used as a reputation of the cities,” Núñez stated. “It’s alleged to be the Tampa Bay space, nevertheless it has been truncated to Tampa Bay and triggered confusion. What number of occasions have we heard a soccer announcer say that Tampa is Tampa Bay, or a baseball announcer say St. Pete is Tampa Bay?”

The response

The Tampa Bay Occasions frequently receives indignant and mocking emails, calls, and social media messages for utilizing the time period Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Historical past Middle and Go to Tampa Bay stated they do, too.

Tampa appears extra passionate concerning the difficulty, at the least on social media.

On Fb teams devoted to recollections of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the Occasions requested residents how they really feel about their cities being grouped into Tampa Bay.

In a 24-hour span, nobody from both Pinellas County metropolis replied however almost 200 from Tampa did.

“Individuals dwell in Tampa. Fish dwell in Tampa Bay,” Tampa Metropolis Councilman Guido Maniscalco replied.

“I grew up in Tampa. Not Tampa Bay,” Lynette Boyd-Fleming commented. “To me, it seems like town is making an attempt to be renamed after I hear newscasters and others confer with Tampa because the bay.”

“I feel it’s so foolish how everybody will get so offended by Tampa Bay,” Monica Mendez-Östling wrote. “I’m a 3rd era Tampa native, and I can perceive the distinction between Tampa town and Tampa Bay the realm.”

“Tampa = Merry Christmas. Tampa Bay = Joyful Holidays,” Dylan Breese posted. “One’s inclusive. The opposite doesn’t like St. Pete.”

Joey Vars, the Belleview-Biltmore Lodge historian and curator of the Gulf Seashores Historic Museum, anticipated the Pinellas apathy.

“As a neighborhood, I don’t take a lot umbrage with it and don’t see lots,” he stated. “Each time we glance out into the water, we see Tampa Bay. So, we’re a part of Tampa Bay. The one time individuals get fired up is after they don’t need their metropolis to be clumped in with Tampa.”

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The boundaries

Past being a physique of water, what encompasses Tampa Bay?

There doesn’t appear to be a consensus. Go to Tampa Bay is the tourism arm of Hillsborough County. However Go to St. Pete/Clearwater additionally describes itself as a part of Tampa Bay.

“I have a look at it as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco,” Go to St. Pete/Clearwater CEO Steve Hayes stated. “However you might most likely pull in Manatee and Sarasota should you needed to go together with a broader image.”

The Tampa Bay Space Regional Transportation Authority consists of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee plus Hernando as a part of Tampa Bay, however not Sarasota. The Tampa Bay Partnership says its coalition of regional enterprise leaders consists of the identical 5 counties plus Sarasota, Citrus and Polk.

Patrick Harrison, Go to Tampa Bay’s chief advertising and marketing officer, stated Tampa Bay may even lengthen “as far south as Collier County … It’s a regional moniker. It isn’t only a physique of water anymore.”

The Tampa Bay Historical past Middle describes itself as a regional museum, however that area is difficult to outline.

“Hillsborough used to embody what we now know as Ocala, Lake Okeechobee, Hernando, Port Charlotte, Pinellas and Manatee,” the historical past heart’s Rodney Kite-Powell stated. “So, we inform these early tales.”

When detailing extra fashionable historical past, the middle primarily sticks to Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco, however can enterprise additional out.

“There aren’t clear boundaries if you find yourself telling the historical past and tales of this space,” stated Kite-Powell. “However, earlier than there was Tampa, there was Tampa Bay.”

The historical past

It’s not unusual for a metropolis to be named after a bay.

There’s Coos Bay in Oregon, Inexperienced Bay in Wisconsin and Bodega Bay in California.

And Tampa Bay was the unique identify for what would develop into town of Tampa. Sure, actually.

The identify Tampa Bay first appeared on maps to explain the physique of water within the 1760s when England bought Florida from Spain and commenced to “anglicize Florida,” Kite-Powell stated. Then, when Fort Brooke was erected within the 1820s within the present-day Water Road neighborhood, the navy named the land space Tampa Bay.

“In the event you needed to confer with the realm earlier than any cities existed, what else are you going to say, the Better Fort Brooke area?” stated Andy Huse, a College of South Florida librarian.

A typed copy of the order establishing the Post Office at Tampa Bay. The order is dated January 1832. The post office opened two months earlier.
A typed copy of the order establishing the Put up Workplace at Tampa Bay. The order is dated January 1832. The publish workplace opened two months earlier. [ Courtesy of the United States Post Office ]

On Nov. 21, 1831, the realm obtained its first publish workplace.

“The publish workplace was initially established as Tampa Bay,” stated Jenny Lynch, america Put up Workplace historian. “The publish workplace identify was modified to Tampa on Sept. 13, 1834.”

However letters continued to reference the realm as Tampa Bay.

The College of Oklahoma has 127 pages of letters written to and from Fort Brooke spanning 1837 to 1839. The Occasions counted Tampa Bay getting used 77 occasions and Tampa 24 occasions because the dateline or space descriptor.

Tampa was established as a village in 1849, organized as a city in 1853 and integrated as a metropolis in 1887.

Nonetheless, “quite a few letters and maps from the 1840s by the mid Eighties referred to Tampa Bay in a normal catch-all form of manner, in each a navy context … and as a possible vacationer vacation spot,” Kite-Powell stated. “The explosive development within the mid Eighties coincided with the diminished use of Tampa Bay as a regional identifier.”

A copy of a Seminole War letter from 1837 identifying Tampa as Tampa Bay.
A duplicate of a Seminole Struggle letter from 1837 figuring out Tampa as Tampa Bay. [ Courtesy of the University of Oklahoma College of Law Digital Commons ]

Even then, Tampa’s first main tourism vacation spot was named the Tampa Bay Lodge when it opened in 1891. Immediately, that constructing is a part of the College of Tampa’s campus.

Then in 1912, land that had beforehand been part of Hillsborough was integrated as Pinellas and the brand new county sought to ascertain its personal id.

The advertising and marketing

Tampa Bay continued for use to explain the realm by the early 1900s, however Suncoast emerged as a tourism model for Pinellas within the Sixties. Civic and governmental companies adopted it, too.

The time period continues to be utilized by the county’s transit authority and the hearth and rescue district that covers the municipalities of Belleair Seashore, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Seashore and Indian Shores. However Suncoast has been phased out as a tourism model, largely as a result of recognition of Tampa Bay.

The late Leonard Levy, credited for serving to to carry the Buccaneers to Tampa, as soon as informed the Occasions that soccer is behind the nationwide use of the time period Tampa Bay. Enterprise and political leaders nervous Tampa was too small for the NFL, however knew that they may get a staff by advertising and marketing an space that included St. Petersburg and Clearwater. That’s the reason the staff was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and never the Tampa Buccaneers when the NFL awarded town the franchise in 1974.

The additions of different sports activities groups additional fueled the identify.

The Lighting play in Tampa and the Rowdies and Rays in St. Petersburg, however every known as Tampa Bay in a advertising and marketing effort to invoke fandom from either side of the bridge.

“I don’t even like our sports activities groups going by Tampa Bay. Ought to be Tampa Buccaneers and Tampa Lightning,” Chris Espinosa stated on Fb.

Núñez thinks the Rays and Rowdies ought to use St. Petersburg. “Allow them to promote their metropolis,” he stated.

Busch Gardens added Tampa Bay to its identify in 1993 and Tampa’s conference heart did so in 2001. The St. Petersburg Times became the Tampa Bay Times in 2012. The Port of Tampa modified its identify to Port Tampa Bay in 2014.

“It rolls off the tongue,” Núñez stated. “It’s simple to say. Hey, hey Tampa Bay. Good day Tampa Bay. I get it. However it has changed Tampa.”

A minimum of Tampa is within the identify Tampa Bay, stated Manny Leto, govt director of Protect the ‘Burg that works to avoid wasting St. Petersburg’s historic buildings. “St. Pete has completely different really feel and vibe than Tampa and aren’t significantly tying themselves to Tampa. Lots of St. Pete individuals I do know would reasonably be their very own metropolis than Tampa Bay.”

That was evident in 2012 when St. Petersburg’s mail processing facilities had been moved to Tampa and the U.S. Postal Service introduced that St. Petersburg’s mail could be postmarked Tampa or one thing else to replicate the area, akin to Tampa Bay.

Metropolis, enterprise, and civic leaders spoke out towards the measure, saying it might rob St. Petersburg of its id. The choice was overturned.

Nonetheless, Tampa native Leto stated of the Tampa Bay debate, “I do really feel like I hear it extra in Tampa.”

However, in 2019, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Lengthy wrote a Times op-ed that chastised the Tampa Bay Financial Growth Council, the Tampa Bay Chamber and different Hillsborough-only organizations for utilizing Tampa Bay.

“The identify ‘Tampa Bay’ ought to be used to characterize us all — Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties,” she wrote. “Particularly in the case of points the place a regional technique will and will present the best return.”

Hayes, of Go to St. Pete/Clearwater, stated his company prefers to market the cities. However there are occasions, relying of the viewers and particularly to worldwide markets, the place they really feel the necessity to clarify that these cities are a part of the Tampa Bay area as a result of quantity of publicity the sports activities groups get.

That’s what Go to Tampa Bay’s Harrison hopes locals settle for. The cities in Hillsborough and Pinellas are distinctive as people however stronger as a collective generally known as Tampa Bay when selling the realm.

“The identify sticks within the thoughts of people that dwell outdoors the area,” he stated, “which is clearly who we’re advertising and marketing.

Núñez isn’t swayed.

“I’ll say this till I’m breathless,” he stated. “I used to be born within the outdated St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was in Tampa. It was not in a physique of water. Finish of debate.”

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