Since 2018 Tampa Armature Works has served many purposes; event space, community hub, dining hall and tourist attraction, just to name a few.
Did you know our story began long, long before that? 110 years to exact. While the HPM is temporarily closed, check out this week’s “Did You Know?” series featuring fun facts and history bits about our historic home. Check it out and learn something new today!
Many of the building’s original architectural and design elements still stand today. The massive crane that adorns the ceiling of our main entryway once served to transport street cars from one side of the building to the other for maintenance. Two of the building’s original three fireplaces, once used to heat the interior in the short FL winter months, are still in use today. Such as the one below, located in the former operations office, that now anchors our East entrance. The other is located in Steelbach restaurant where visitors can sit and enjoy a piece of history (and a nice glass of bourbon.)
Dozens of elements of the building have been salvaged with many of them over 100 years old. The original wood beams from the ceiling were used in the floors in The Gathering event space. The community hand washing sink was salvaged from an original restroom and has survived an entire century. The building’s original design, as did many factories and warehouses at the time, contained basic amenities such as food, showers and entertainment. The dining counter below once occupied where the Steelbach kitchen stands now. Operators and technicians would have turned in their coin boxes and sat around the parlor to have lunch.
The original 2nd story Theatre, still in use today, is where workers gathered to enjoy various entertainment after a hard day’s work. Entertainment at the time may have been as simple as being read to aloud. Today the Theatre hosts weddings, parties and celebrations of all sorts. Below is a photo of the Theatre from the early 20th century, alongside a current image today.