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Word Count: 281
At one time there were over two hundred cigar factories gracing our Citys skyline giving Tampa the moniker of Cigar City Unfortunately there are now only twenty-four former factories remaining five of which are abandoned However the remaining nineteen factories are currently being utilized as offices churches schools and warehouses One of the few cigar factories still being used for cigar related businesses and the only factory in Tampa to still manufacture cigars is the 97000 square foot Regensberg Cigar Factory When it was built in 1910 this factory had enough seats for over 1000 artisan cigar rollers Unfortunately during the Great Depression as cigars became a luxury item fewer people could afford machines began to replace the human rollersAfter World War II due to mechanization and decreased demand the factorys workforce had decreased to around 300 employees In 1951 the building was abandoned when Regensberg moved his operations up north Two years later JC Newman owner of a successful northern cigar company and currently the oldest family owned cigar maker in the United States bought the factory and relocated his entire operation to the former Regensberg factory The factorys iconic bell tower nicknamed El Reloj Spanish for The Clock had become an integral part of life for Ybor City residents For generations families would depend of the clock and its 1500 pound bell for the time Unfortunately the Newmans were not aware of the bells significance and had it silenced Over the years the clocks mechanics as well as three of the four clock faces had broken In 2002 the Newmans restored the clocks and bell which after sitting silent for fifty-years now chimes again for all of Ybor to hear
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