TAMPA, Fla. - Through his journey in Tampa politics, former Mayor Bob Buckhorn has never forgotten where the city came from.
"[If you were on Harbour Island 40 years ago, ] you would be walking on a big pile of phosphate tailings, completely overgrown, probably brush 10 feet tall.
Now as the city celebrates its 135th birthday, you can see a half-dozen skyscrapers and shops with a view of a skyline that has doubled in size.
Tampa was incorporated on July 15, 1887 by people who mostly worked in the port, which was being used for goods discovered in Central Florida. As railroads came in, the population boomed from 700 in 1880 to 16,000 by 1900.
Then, the cigar industry came to Tampa.
"That marketing of the industry also helped market Tampa," said Rodney Kite-Powell with the Tampa Bay History Center.
By 1930, Tampa's population had gone from 700 to 100,000.
To celebrate Tampa's 135th birthday, the Hillsborough County Public Library and Tampa Bay History Center is offering courses during Archives Awareness Week on preserving old photos, heirlooms and how to peruse archives.
"If you don't preserve history, then there is a very good chance you are going to forget it," said Kite-Powell. "There are a lot of important things to remember. Some good, some of them bad. And they all help shape who we are and what we are."
FOX 13 met with longtime City Councilor Charlie Miranda on the Ybor City street corner 7th Avenue and 15th Street where he met his wife in 1961. He said the key to the city's history and future are its many cultures.
"It's the immigrants that made the city," said Miranda. "Immigrants made all of America when you back and look at it. Being part of that movement really gives me chills."