An artillery gun memorial honoring veterans of the Spanish-American War was erected in 1927 on what is now the University of Tampa campus. In 1898, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders camped on land near Howard Avenue, close to where the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory now stands, before sailing to Cuba to participate in the war. During their stay in Tampa, Roosevelt spent a night or two at the Tampa Bay Hotel, which later became part of the university.
The original gun, which was positioned at Fort Dade on Egmont Key during the Spanish-American War, was removed for use as scrap metal during World War II to support the war effort. An 8-inch artillery gun replaced it following that war, mounted on the original pedestal. The gun aims to the south, toward Cuba.
In the “then” photo, taken in 1963, shops line Kennedy Boulevard, then called Lafayette Street. Signs in the windows advertise 5-cent Cokes and $1 haircuts. In the “now” photo, the university’s Frank P. Urso residence hall can be seen in the background behind the memorial.
-Greg S. Carr