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Mobsters, sex and gambling: Tour explores Tampa’s criminal past

Published:   |   Updated: April 5, 2013 at 08:49 AM

Graduate students from the University of South Florida will lead a stroll through downtown Tampa’s criminal past on Friday, complete with stops at former brothels, gambling parlors and the old City Hall.

The free walking tour – offered by the USF history department and the Tampa downtown Partnership – will explore the city’s history with drugs, sex, gambling, laundered money, corrupt politics and the infamous 1920s gangster Charlie Wall.

The tour begins at noon at Lykes Gaslight Square Park at 410 N. Franklin St. and will last about one hour.

The tour is part of Do the Local Motion, a series of four historical walking tours that also promote fitness, which are being offered by the Downtown Partnership and USF this month.

Here’s the rest of the schedule:

Mid Century Shopping on Franklin Street, April 12, noon and 5:30 p.m. – Step back in time to before Tampa’s shopping malls and big box stores, when Franklin Street teemed with a mix of department stores and specialty shops. Learn about Maas Brothers, Kress, Woolworth, Schwobilt and Grant's during a walk down Franklin Street to learn the social, economic and cultural reasons for the neighborhood’s transition.

In the Line of Duty, April 19, noon – Downtown is abundant with memorials for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military or civic service. Visit the various monuments, and learn about the stories they tell. 

Frontier Tampa, April, 26, noon – A crossroads of trade routes and empires, Tampa's rich, yet sometimes exploitive, history brought together a diversity of people of various races, ethnicity and class. Visit the sites of Ft. Brooke, Native American mounds, saloons, an opera house and more to learn about the experiences of real-life pioneers.

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