Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

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Defying the Sunbelt: An Economic and Environmental History of Tampa, 1950-1980
by Massey, Brad Thomas, Ph.D., University of Florida, 2017, 267; 13847475
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is an urban history that examines the diverse market forces that shaped Cold War-era Tampa into a unique metropolitan space that defies generic Sunbelt categorization. After World War II, greater Tampa’s phosphate industry, cigar manufacturing, Busch Gardens, Ybor City project, suburban development, MacDill Air Force Base, and big agribusiness coexisted and competed, ultimately creating an economically distinct city unlike Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, and other urban places in the broadly defined Sunbelt.

The economic, political, environmental, and social impacts of greater Tampa’s most influential postwar industries are the subjects of this dissertation, and this study illustrates the ways in which these various economic enterprises interacted with one another and shaped the city’s identity. Chapter 2 examines the economic, environmental, and political history of Tampa’s phosphate industry. Chapter 3 is an economic, political, and labor history of the feminized cigar industry. Chapter 4 examines the social and economic implications of Tampa’s developing tourist economy. Chapter 5 is an environmental and economic history of the area’s booming postwar suburban growth sector and its relationship to the Hillsborough River and upper Tampa Bay. Chapter 6 examines the history and economic impact of MacDill Air Force Base and big agribusinesses. This study then closes with a summary of how phosphate companies, women cigarworkers, tourist initiatives, orange and strawberry farms, fighter jets, migrant workers, sprawling suburbs, and a polluted river and bay combined to make Tampa a unique southern city. An urban space forged into a distinct American southern metropolis by competing and coexisting forms of postwar capitalism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Davis, Jack E.
Commitee: Davis, Jack E., Guerra, Lillian, Harland-Jacobs, Vessica, Spillane, Joseph, Travis, Trysh
School: University of Florida
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American history
Keywords: Tampa, Urban
Publication Number: 13847475
ISBN: 9780438947306
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