Ybor City, containing one of only a few National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida, usually needs no introduction. The same is not always true of West Tampa, its somewhat younger and lesser-known "sister community".

In 1892, Scottish immigrant and local attorney, Hugh Macfarlane, purchased 200 acres of unincorporated land west of the Hillsborough River, approximately one mile from downtown Tampa. Inspired by the incredible success of Ybor City, Macfarlane's goal was to establish a new development and attract additional cigar factories to the Tampa area. Within months, the A. Del Pino cigar factory relocated to the new community from Key West.

Soon, many other cigar factories followed suit. Along with the arrival of these factories came the immigrants to produce the cigars. These workers were initially overwhelmingly Cuban, most arriving directly from Cuba. The growth of West Tampa was enhanced when Macfarlane constructed a bridge across the river, thus connecting the fast-growing area to Tampa's vast streetcar system. Within a few years, many Spaniards and Sicilians were also calling "West Tampa" their home. The cultural and economic mix became the same as Ybor City's.