Anthony P. Pizzo
September 22, 1912
|Died||January 2, 1994 81) (aged|
Memorial Hospital of Tampa
|Known for||Local historian|
|Children||Paul Pizzo, Tony Pizzo|
Anthony "Tony" P. Pizzo was a well-respected local historian and businessman, and was internationally recognized for his attempts to preserve the Italian American and Cuban American heritage and history of Tampa, Florida, and in particular that of his home neighborhood of Ybor City. From 1982 until his death in 1994, Pizzo was the official historian of Hillsborough County, and is author of several histories, most of which celebrate the unusual multicultural makeup of early Tampa. Pizzo also served as chairman of the Hillsborough County Historical Commission from 1968 to 1980, where he oversaw and was responsible for over eighty historical markers in Tampa and Ybor City.
Tony Pizzo was born in Ybor City to Italian parents Paul and Rosalia Pizzo, who were green grocers, in 1912.His parents instilled in him a philanthropic nature and a quest to keep the Italian heritage alive. Paul Pizzo was the organizer of La Nuova Sicilia Lodge, the very first chapter in Florida for the Sons of Italy organization and was honored in the book El Volto d'Italia (The Faces of Italy). Paul and Rosalia Pizzo created an environment filled with social and cultural stimulation, music and art, and placed a large emphasis on kindness and making contributions to your community.
Pizzo described his childhood in fondly poetic terms:
I like to think of the days of my youth in Ybor city ... recall the sights, sounds and smells that enriched my childhood. Life was pleasant and carefree, often exciting. I can still hear the chatter in Spanish and Italian as the workers paraded to the long days of rolling cigars in the factories; the rumbling of wagons and the clump of horses' hooves on the brick streets delivering bottles of milk and loaves of Cuban bread before sunrise... The mellifluous Latin prattle along the sidewalks in the evenings was an enchantment. I can still hear the music from the ballrooms wafting on the night air during festive occasions. Remembering the haunting wail of the train whistle rumbling along Sixth Avenue in the middle of the night awakens a sad sense of nostalgia. The old haunts and departed friends capture my memories. It was a way of life that will not return. It filled the summers of my childhood.
Pizzo attended Hillsborough High School before moving on to the University of Florida for two years. After graduation, he attended Stetson University for law school, but quit to go into business for himself.While at Stetson University, Pizzo met cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Grafton Payne, and together, the two of them toured Europe in 1938. Upon returning home, Pizzo enlisted with the military and served in World War II.
During the 1940s, Pizzo worked in the insurance business, but later left to start his own liquor company, International Brands, before 1950. He left this business a short time later, and began working for House of Midulla, a wholesale liquor company, and served as vice president in charge of sales from 1950 to 1984.From 1965 to 1971, Pizzo was president of Rey Del Mundo Cigar Co., a mail-order business that was among the Midulla affiliates. Pizzo additionally served as vice president and general manager for another affiliate company of Midulla, Fruit Wines of Florida Inc., the first winery to be built in Tampa. Pizzo frequently traveled in Spain and Italy, and while in Sicily he gathered material in 1970 on Italians who came to Ybor City before the turn of the century.
Pizzo also was very active in Tampa history and heritage, teaching about Tampa's Hispanic roots at the University of South Florida,and served as a member of the University of South Florida's presidents Council. During his tenure as a professor in the American Studies department, Pizzo's ten part television series, "Tony Pizzo's Tampa,"(1979) produced by the University of South Florida, won two National University Television Association awards.
Pizzo was involved in a great number of organizations throughout his time. Some of his impact can be seen in:
Pizzo's work preserving and discovering Tampa's heritage garnered him quite a few awards throughout his lifetime, and even has his own name attached to an award today (see below). Pizzo received the Medal of the National Order of Merit Carlos Manuel de Cespedes from the Cuban government in 1952, the highest award that can be given to a foreigner, presented to him by President Fulgencio Batista for the preservation of Cuban history in Tampa. The Italian government made Pizzo a Knight Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 1974 for similar work with Italian heritage and history in Tampa. In 1956 Pizzo was recognized as an Outstanding citizen with the Tampa Civitan Award, the highest honor bestowed by the city. In 1971 Pizzo founded the Tampa Historical Society, which then awarded him with the D.B. McKay State Award in 1980. The Hillsborough County Bar Association gave Pizzo the Liberty Bell Award on Law Day, 1990.And finally, Pizzo had been recognized many times in banquets during his life, and continued to receive praise in numerous posthumous celebrations.
The materials left from Tony Pizzo's historical research create one of the larger personal collections in the Special Collections department of the University of South Florida Tampa Library.
Pizzo Elementary School was named in his honor, and opened in 1998, four years after Pizzo's death.
The Tony Pizzo Award given annually to "someone who has been actively involved in the City or County's Historical Education, Preservation, Research, or Community Service involving the history and heritage of Tampa" is also named in Pizzo's honor.
Pizzo is depicted by one of the bronze statues that adorn Ybor City's streets—monuments to extraordinary citizens of this neighborhood. Pizzo's statue is situated at Ninth Avenue and 17th Street, where he is shown mid-lecture.The statue was unveiled in September 1995, just one year after Pizzo's death.
Pizzo is also featured in a 12,000 square foot mural in Ybor City painted by artist Mike Parker that was dedicated in May 2013. Named "American Journey", it features prominent Ybor citizens through the years, including Ybor City's namesake Vicente Martinez-Ybor, who brought the cigar industry to Tampa from Key West.
Pizzo worked tirelessly to preserve, document and share Tampa's historic culture and heritage. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Tampa History including:
A Cuban sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that likely originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Tampa or Key West, two early Cuban immigrant communities in Florida centered around the cigar industry. Later on, Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami, where it is also very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread. Salami is included in Tampa, where there is a large Italian population, but is not usually included in South Florida.
Ybor City is a historic neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, United States, located just northeast of downtown. It was founded in the 1880s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor and other cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain, and Italy. For the next 50 years, workers in Ybor City's cigar factories rolled hundreds of millions of cigars annually.
Braulio Alonso was a high school and junior high school teacher and principal. He served as the first Hispanic president of the National Education Association.
West Tampa is one of the oldest neighborhoods within the city limits of Tampa, Florida, United States. It was an independently incorporated city from 1895 until 1925, when it was annexed by Tampa.
Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different baking method and ingredient list ; it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves. It is a staple of Cuban-American cuisine and is traditionally the bread of choice when making an authentic Cuban sandwich.
The modern history of Tampa, Florida can be traced to the founding of Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River in today's downtown in 1824, soon after the United States had taken possession of Florida from Spain. The outpost brought a small population of civilians to the area, and the town of Tampa was first incorporated in 1855.
Ybor City Museum State Park is a Florida State Park in Tampa, Florida's Ybor City. The museum occupies the former Ferlita Bakery building at 1818 9th Avenue in the Ybor City Historic District. The bakery was known for producing cuban bread and its ovens are part of the museum displays covering the history of the cigar industry and the Latin community from the 1880s through the 1930s. There is also an ornamental garden in the building.
The Ybor City Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District District located in Tampa, Florida. The district is bounded by 6th Avenue, 13th Street, 10th Avenue and 22nd Street, East Broadway between 13th and 22nd Streets. Ybor City contains a total of 956 historic buildings, including an unparalleled collection of architecture with Spanish-Cuban influence, as well as historic cigar factory buildings and associated infrastructure. The area was developed by businessman Vicente Martinez Ybor beginning in 1886, and was for a time the world's leading supplier of cigars.
For the similarly named building in West Tampa see El Centro Español of West Tampa
The Centro Asturiano is a historic site in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. It is located at 1913 Nebraska Avenue. On July 24, 1974, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Tampa architect M. Leo Elliott.
The El Pasaje is a historic site in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. It was originally built in 1886 to house the offices for Vicente Martinez Ybor's companies as he planned Ybor City and then ran his cigar factory and other businesses. El Pasaje has been home to many establishments since: a hotel, several restaurants, several bars and speakeasies, a military recruiting station, and newspaper offices, among others.
The Ybor Factory Building is a historic site in Tampa, Florida, United States located at 1911 North 13th Street. The main factory and its surrounding support buildings cover an entire city block between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenues and 13th and 14th Streets in the Ybor City Historic District section of the Ybor City neighborhood. C. E. Parcell is credited as the building's architect.
V.M. Ybor is a neighborhood within the city limits of Tampa, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the neighborhood had a population of 1,743. The ZIP Codes serving the neighborhood are 33602, 33603, and 33605.
Vicente Martinez-Ybor, was a Spanish entrepreneur who first became a noted industrialist and cigar manufacturer in Cuba, then Key West, and finally Tampa, Florida.
Ybor City is a historic neighborhood that includes the Ybor City Historic District in Tampa, Florida. It is located just northeast of downtown Tampa and north of Port Tampa Bay. The neighborhood has distinct architectural, culinary, cultural, and historical legacy that reflects its multi-ethnic composition. It was unique in the American South as a prosperous manufacturing community built and populated almost entirely by immigrants.
Nicholas Chillura Nuccio was a two-time mayor of Tampa, Florida in the 1950s and 60s. He was the Tampa's first mayor of "Latin" descent, having been born and raised in the immigrant neighborhood of Ybor City.
Tampa Bay History Center is a history museum in Tampa, Florida. Exhibits include coverage of the Tampa Bay area's first native inhabitants, Spanish conquistadors, and historical figures who shaped the area's history, as well as a reproduction of a 1920s cigar store. The museum is on the waterfront at 801 Old Water Street in Tampa's Channelside District. It opened on January 17, 2009. The History Center building is 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) with 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of exhibit space.
Gavino Gutierrez, a Spanish immigrant to the United States, was an importer, architect, civil engineer, and surveyor. He was responsible for bringing Vincente M. Ybor to Tampa, Florida and for designing Ybor City.
The Robert W. Saunders Sr. Public Library is a member of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System (THPL) and the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC).
William Benton Henderson was a cattleman, merchant, and prominent figure in the history of Tampa, Florida. He is the namesake of Henderson Boulevard and Henderson Avenue as well as the former W. B. Henderson elementary school.