From the late 1880s to the early 1950s, Ybor City, Tampa’s National Historic Landmark District, was the Cigar Capital of the World. Production was handled by talented cigar makers whose worldwide club of cigar aficionados willingly paid premium prices for pure Cuban-leaf, hand-rolled cigars. The “clear Havanas” were manufactured with pride and love in the famous factories of this historic section of Tampa.
Sanchez & Haya, one of the larger factories, stood for many years as a local landmark. The firm was the first cigar manufacturer licensed in the state of Florida, perhaps in the United States. Sanchez & Haya was established in 1886, the year Ybor City was founded. The original factory was destroyed by a fire in 1908. The present building was completed in 1912.
In 1976, the property was purchased by U-Haul, and signed and imaged as a U-Haul Moving and Storage Center. The challenge for this ambitious project was to ensure that the building was clearly and immediately recognized as a U-Haul Center, while retaining its turn-of-the-century architectural charm.
The result? Central Tampa U-Haul Center (786-054), a designated historical monument, serving do-it-yourself moving and storage customers.