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Saint Leo Community Memory Oral History Collection & Archive: Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory History

This guide contains a collection of oral histories and archival materials related to the history of Saint Leo University and its surrounding communities since its inception in the late 19th century.

Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory History

Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory Building

New Home of Saint Leo University's Tampa Education Center

1403 North Howard Avenue, West Tampa

 

One of the most successful cigar companies in Tampa was the Berriman Brothers Cigar Company which was founded by two brothers, Matthew and Edward Berriman. They established their first cigar company in Tampa in 1903. The building at 1403 N. Howard Avenue, which now houses Saint Leo University’s Tampa center, was the building the Berriman Brothers first occupied, and is famous for its prominent water tower. In 1910 they sold the building to the Morgan Cigar Company for $110,000. The Morgan Cigar Company continued to manufacture cigars in this building until the 1960s when the cigar industry began to wane in the Tampa area. In 2004 this building was designated an historic landmark building and is called the Berriman-Morgan Building in honor of the Berriman Brothers who built it and the Morgan Cigar Company that occupied it for the better part of a century. Like the Berriman-Morgan building, Saint Leo University has been a fixture in the larger Tampa Bay area since its founding, and has undergone many changes during its long history. It is fitting, then, that Saint Leo University will now occupy this historic site.

In the images that follow, notice how prominently this building is featured in the advertisements for Morgan cigar brands.

Morgan Cigar Co. Advertisement -- Berriman-Morgan Building

Bonded Havana Cigars -- Berriman-Morgan Building

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020. 

Factory Exterior

“Berriman - Morgan Cigar, Company.” Cigars of Tampa. July 5, 2018. http://www.cigarsoftampa.com/berriman-morgan-bldg.html.

Factory Exterior

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020. 

Reconstruction Factory Diagram -- Shows historic representation of the factory's layout

Semmens, Patrick. “Stogie News: Historic Cigar Factory Finds New Life.” Stogie Guys. The Stogie Guys, 2006. 

Fire Insurance Map, 1915

Koepnick, Brian. “Tampa’s Historic Cigar Factories: Making a Case for Preservation.” 1996. p109.

Independente Cigars

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020.

Morgan Cigar Co. Seal

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020. 

Morgan Cigar Co. Seal

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020.

Berriman Cigar Workers

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020.

Jose Vila Cigar Advertisement, 1912 -- Berriman-Morgan Building

Burgert Brothers. An Adviertisement [sic] for the Berriman Brothers Cigar Company in West Tampa from the 1912 "Tobacco Leaf.” 1912. Advertisement. Tampa, Florida

Juan de Fuca Cigars

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020.

Duc de Tampa Cigars

“Ybor City Cigar Factory Series Berriman-Morgan.” Cigar Smoking Man. March 8, 2020.