Monday, August 15, 2011

Nebraska Avenue

Centro Asturiano completed in 1914

11.2 miles of interesting is how I describe Nebraska Avenue.   I only drive a small portion, 2.3 miles of it, five days a week but I never know what I may see during that stop and go drive. 

Nebraska Avenue was named for the state of Nebraska in the 1870’s from an influx of Nebraskan’s who migrated to Florida perhaps for the game and fishing which was plentiful at the time.  They planted orange groves along the dirt road and settled in.

Downtowns are often times filled with people who are in challenging life situations, Tampa is no exception.  Nebraska Avenue runs from downtown at Twigg St. all the way up to Lutz.  The section I drive is between Palm Avenue in Ybor and Hillsborough Avenue in Seminole Heights.

Churches both small and large, dot the blocks; along with motels that have seen their better days.  For me, the character of Nebraska comes from the people that live there.  Young people that ride their bikes or walk across the street playing chicken with the cars.  The elderly, looking so frail, that shuffle to their neighborhood convenience store.  The Mr. Lady, dressed in very short shorts, a tee shirt and had white face cream on his face, who literally flounced out into the middle of the road stopping rush hour traffic with one hand on his hip and another straight out, when he noticed an elderly woman trying to find a break in traffic to cross the street.  It is the spirit of the hearts I see sleeping on the benches in the park.  Some broken, others free.  People dressed in their church clothes on a weekday trying to do their best day in and day out. 

I see what once were grand buildings now in disarray but still providing a roof over someone’s head.  Other buildings being given a rebirth as entrepreneurs move in hoping the cheap rent gives them a chance to make a difference in the neighborhood.

2.3 miles of sadness and hope five days a week.  This is why I choose not to drive the highway.


  1. Before I had my daughter, my husband and I would take a weekly Sunday morning trip to downtown Jacksonville to have brunch at this cool little cafe on a street corner smack in the middle of downtown and we loved to read the papaer and people watch for similar scenarios to what you posted above. Lots of interesting faces and unique buildings full of stories and history. :) Thanks for sharing Ginny!