Lykes Brothers

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Lykes Brothers, Inc., is a Florida corporation founded by the Lykes Family of Tampa, Florida, in 1910. This family would become the largest landowner in Florida, the 9th largest landowner in the United States and the wealthiest in Tampa Bay. [1]

In the 1870s Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes abandoned a medical career in Columbia, South Carolina, and took over a 500-acre (2.0 km2) family cattle ranch in rural Hernando County north of Tampa. The Lykes Family started the first school in this county in Spring Hill and the library at the county seat, Brooksville, also bears the Lykes name. The family cemetery is located outside of Brooksville.

In 1895, Dr. Lykes moved to Ballast Point in Tampa, Florida where he began shipping cattle to Cuba. Gradually, his seven sons joined the family operations which incorporated in 1910 as Lykes Brothers. This corporation would come to comprise interests in land, citrus, phosphate mining, timber (eucalyptus, pine), sugarcane, a major shipping line (Lykes Brothers Steamship Company), cattle and meat processing, banking (First Florida Bank) and Lykes Insurance Company.

In the 1930s, Lykes Bros. purchased the 265,000-acre (1,070 km2) Lykes Ranch in West Texas, south of Alpine. By the 1950s, Lykes Bros. Steamships was the largest U.S. shipping line, with 54 cargo ships operating out of Gulf ports.[2] A Lykes Bros. ship would be the first to sail into Shanghai harbor after the U.S. established relations with mainland China. A leader in citrus concentrate, the $15 million Lykes Pasco citrus-processing plant was the biggest in Florida. The corporation took a blow when La Candelaria, the 15,000-acre (61 km2) Lykes estate 250 miles (400 km) east of Havana, was nationalized during the Cuban Revolution. It is now a cooperative farm.

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  1. ^ St. Petersburg Times, January 25, 2002
  2. ^ Time, March 8, 1954

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