#5 of 49 Things to do Before I Turn 49

A few years back I met a man named Lonnie Herman.  He’s the guy who operates the Ybor City Walking Tours.  Since I’ve already done that walk (3 times) I can’t make it a part of my 49 adventures.  But he inspired me for #5.  When Lonnie begins his tours he says that when you learn about the past your tend to appreciate how things are even more in the present.  That’s always stayed with me and this weeks’ adventure is a perfect example of that.

Herman Glogowski
Tampa’s First Jewish Mayor

If you live in Tampa, then you’ve probably walked our Riverwalk.  And if you haven’t, you really ought to.  It’s wonderful  The views of the University of Tampa are amazing at sunset and with the addition of the new park on the opposite side, the walk north will just continue to become more breathtaking.  All along the Riverwalk is the Historical Monument Trail which features 24 historical busts.   You’ve probably walked by them.  Maybe even read the name of the person and the first few lines.  Feeling academic?  Read the whole biography.  But rarely, I’m guessing, have many people read all of them.    So I started my adventure at the beginning of the Riverwalk in Channelside and walked the entire 2.3 miles stopping at every single bust and read their entire bio.

Each bust represents a historical figure who helped contribute to the development of the Tampa area.  There were the usual suspects; Henry Plant, Vicente Martinez Ybor, & Kate Jackson.  But the one’s I found most intriguing were the one’s I’d never heard of before like a bust representing Tampa’s native people, The Mound Builders and Paulina Pedroso, the most influential woman involved in Cuba’s 1895 revolution from Spain – a revolution that started right here in  Tampa, FL.

Cody Fowler Defended African Americans in Court

Perhaps the one that was the most impactful to me, because I have a direct link to his influence, was the bust of Cody Fowler. He was the mayor of 1928, the cities first attorney, and early on in his profession, made a name for himself by defending African Americans in court.  What’s the connection with me?  He was the one of the founding partners in the law firm, Fowler White.  And Fowler White merged with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney to become one of Tampa’s largest law firms with nationwide exposure.  And Rhea Law, one of my closest friends and mentors, is the Chair of the Florida Offices.

Meroba Hooker Crane Helped Create Tampa’s First Hospital

If you live in Tampa, I can’t recommend reading each and every one of these busts along the trail.  It will make you appreciate our rich history and see the struggles we have overcome.  If you don’t live in Tampa, you can take a virtual tour of the Riverwalk and learn all about each of the historical figures featured in the busts by clicking here.

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