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FROM THE GARY HISTORICAL MARKER
The name Gary was officially recognized with the establishment of the Gary post office in 1898. The official plat of "Gary-Town" was recorded in May 1903. The Gary neighborhood included both Gary-Town and Spanish Park, located to its east. The neighborhood's boundaries extended from 26th Street on the west to 40th Street on the east. The population included Anglos, Italians, Spaniards and Cubans. Celery farming played a prominent role in Gary. The neighborhood also included cigar factories, a citrus packing house, dairies, a blacksmith shop, churches, boarding houses and several retail establishments. The City of Gary was incorporated in October 1915. The municipal boundaries stretched from 30th Street on the west to 37th Street on the east and Wall Street (21st Avenue) on the north to the bay on the south. The state legislature abolished the City of Gary in 1919. Then, in 1923, the City of Tampa extended its boundaries to encompass the former City of Gary. After World War II, an African American population moved into Gary. Unfortunately, in the 1960s Interstate 4 cut through the neighborhood, destroying many homes. Still, the community's spirit survived. The Gary School was recognized by the City of Tampa as an historical landmark in 2005. Former residents and friends fondly remember their neighborhood and sponsored this historic marker to remind others of the strong community of Gary.
Gary was an important wye for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. It was used as a runaround and turning point for passenger trains such as the Silver Meteor and the Floridian to enter Tampa Union Station. It was also used for trains to access the Clearwater subdivision to service stations in Clearwater, Pinellas Park and St Petersburg, FL. Unfortunately, in 1984, Amtrak discontinued its service to Clearwater and the wye was torn up. Once a busy location of train activity, the area has been reduced to a few local freight trains each day. Passenger trains now use the former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad tracks to enter and leave Tampa Union Station.
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