South Tampa was a sparsely populated area until the late 1800s. Originally, it consisted of cattle farms and citrus groves. The neighborhood was mainly residential with some commercial enterprises that served South Tampa residents such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies etc.
In 1905 electric trolleys were introduced to Tampa neighborhoods including South Tampa which helped bring increased development in this area due to its proximity to downtown and other areas along Hillsborough Avenue where people could work or shop without risking their lives driving on horse-drawn carriages over poorly maintained roads.
In 1937 the first library branch opened in South Tampa at Morningside Park – home of one of the city’s oldest recreation facilities – followed by libraries at Florida Southern College (1953), Sunset Park (1956), and the University of Tampa.
Today, South Tampa is a thriving community with diverse residents, students and businesses.