Tampa bridge renamed for freed slave who made construction possible

- Members of local and state government met to honor the life of Madame Fortune Taylor by renaming the Laurel Street Bridge in her memory. 

Taylor and her husband donated land which allowed the city to build the bridge in 1890. The donation helped bridge the gap between Tampa’s cigar industry and the workers it needed to keep the  industry afloat.  

“That’s why the bridge was built, so that ordinary people could get to work,” said Rodney Kite-Powell, spokesperson for the Tampa Bay History Center. 

The bridge was originally named for Taylor, but the city decided to change the name to the street on the west side of the river, Laurel Street. 

Leaders hope the decision to rename the bridge will help honor the legacy of the woman responsible for its construction. 

“There are people in this room that have always known about her, but the public didn’t,” explained Gloria Royster, founder of Friends of Madame Taylor. 

Her historical maker will sit on the east side of the bridge near the intersection of Doyle and Fortune Street, the only downtown street named for a woman. 

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Tampa bridge renamed for freed slave who made construction possible
  • Colors of Pride fill St. Pete on eve of parade
  • Community tight-lipped about shooting of Tampa teen
  • Former attorney charged with stealing $215K from clients
  • Florida Polytechnic anti-hazing program faulted by state auditors
  • Cheerleading coach had sexual contact with 16-year-old, deputies say
  • Tampa burglary suspect seen dancing in surveillance video
  • Uber driver charged with pointing gun at texting motorist
  • Inmate found after walking away from Bilirakis event in Pasco Co.
  • More charges filed against Brandon cheerleading coach