City Storiez

Trigga City: The Urban History of Tampa, Florida

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Trigga City: Breakdown of the Tampa Ghetto

The city of Tampa, located in Florida’s Hillsborough County, has for years been known as “Trigga City” for the streets within the East Tampa and West Tampa ghetto.

The streets of Trigga City date back to the 1970s and the 1980s with 34th Manche in the Jackson Heights community or the Goyams of the old College Hills Projects, during a time when the city’s urban communities were transforming.

Many have the claim that before drugs had enter the streets of the Tampa ghetto there was very little violence, other than local fist fights, and only petty small-time crime being committed.

But with the introduction to drugs during the late 1980s and 1990s, along with very little guidance and proper foundations, the lure of a better chance of earning living with a greater reward, but also a greater risk, led too many to the streets.

west tampa ghetto

The old Boulevard Homes of West Tampa

As people from neighborhoods throughout Tampa came involved with street activity the name Trigga City slowly became a true definition of Tampa as the streets experience a new generation of activity.

The city’s housing projects became the most reputable ‘hoods within the streets of the Tampa ghetto, while the construction of the housing projects also help changed the makeup of many neighborhoods that the complexes were placed in.

Places like Nuccio changed after the Moses White projects were placed in the community as white flight, which was occurring at a high rate during the 1970s, led to the change of demographics and the community’s tax base.

east tampa ghetto

With white flight occurring around the 1970s places like Ybor City and other various communities throughout the city of Tampa became predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

In West Tampa, West Main Street was replaced by the Boulevard Homes while a few miles north in Tampa Heights the Robles Park projects gained a reputation of its own, while College Hills and Ponce De Leon became well respected in East Tampa.




East Tampa and West Tampa Black History

Originally, black families came into the city of Tampa during the early 1900s, the height of Florida’s building boom, before the building boom Tampa only had a small black population of slaves, freedmen, and Afro-Cubans.

Neighborhoods like East Tampa’s Central Avenue or West Tampa’s Main Street became a main attraction for the city’s black community with many similarities to New York City’s Harlem as famous black entertainers and entrepreneurs would visit the community.

Tampa Black History: Mural of the thriving days of Central Avenue

Tampa Black History: Mural of the thriving days of Central Avenue

Originally, black families were only able to reside in a few neighborhoods like College Hills, a small area near Sulphur Springs, and Progress Village, which was constructed strictly for African-Americans during the 1950s.

Other than Progress Village, the original African-American communities of East Tampa were destroyed and replace with housing complexes like Tampa Park and Central Park in the old Central Avenue area or the College Hills and Ponce De Leon projects of College Hills.

Currently, the black community of East Tampa expands from Columbus Drive of East Tampa to the Cross Fletcher area in North Tampa, as well the isolated neighborhood of Palm River and 78th Street, which consists of Clair-Mel City and Progress Village.

east tampa ghetto

Progress Village of East Tampa

On the West Side, before the black population expanded into Tampa Heights, Port Tampa or Town N Country, the community was only based in areas around Main Street, along with Dobyville, which was short lived due to the construction of the highway.

Centered around N. Lois Avenue is the Carver City neighborhood, this community was constructed following the popularity of Main Street and the destruction of Dobyville as an area that was tended to become an African-American suburb to West Tampa.

Currently, mostly all of Tampa’s housing projects have been redeveloped into mixed-income apartments or into multi-million-dollar developments with less than half of the original apartment units being replaced, like the area of the Central Park Village.

east tampa

The rebuilt College Hills project of East Tampa

For instance, Ponce De Leon and the College Hills projects of the East Tampa ghetto have become Belmont Estates, while West Tampa’s Boulevard Homes has begun the process of being demolish.

With the destruction of the housing complexes the population has shifted into the low-income apartment complexes of North Tampa, in an area known to some as Suitcase City or Cross Fletcher that sits between Fowler Avenue and Bearss Avenue.




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*Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.