TAMPA, Fla. -- Bostonians. New Yorkers. Yinzers. Seattleites. Hoosiers. Miamians.
The list of adjectives to describe residents of U.S. cities could go on. But what are people from Tampa called?
Is it Tampans? Tampanians? Tampeños? Something else entirely?
Residents of Tampa can’t seem to agree on just one term.
Examples of “Tampan” can be found in hundreds of thousands of Florida newspaper archives from 1849 to 2018.
The Pensacola News used the term in an issue from August 1889, and The Orlando Sentinel used “Tampan” in an article from July 1916.
The Tampa Tribune used the headline “Tampans Bow to Georgians by 26 to 13” in a Oct. 25, 1935 issue. The Tampa Times in 1965 described new Junior League members as “Native Tampans.”
And as recently as 2013, the Tribune, which was bought by the Tampa Bay Times in 2016, used “Tampans” in a correspondent story by local historian Rodney Kite-Powell.
But what do local leaders think? We asked a couple mayors, a history center and an author of a Tampa history book what they think.
What are people from Tampa called?
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
“Tampanians,” spokesperson Ashley Bauman said.
Tampa Bay History Center
“Tampan is the correct term,” spokesperson Manny Leto said. “Tampa’s historic Latin community might refer to themselves as Tampeños.”
Mario Núñez, creator and host of The Tampa Natives Show and fourth-generation Tampa native
“I’ve never referred to myself as anything other than Tampeño,” he said. “It’s being honest and true to your culture and gives you a chance to explain what (Tampeño) is and folding it into the story of Ybor City and the cigar industry.”
Núñez said “Tampan” and “Tampanian” are too weird, and that Tampa natives “need to make sure we keep our history and culture alive.”
Scott Dietche, author of Cigar City Mafia, about the history of Tampa’s criminal underworld during Prohibition.
“I didn’t grow up in Tampa and I live in St. Pete, so natives might get upset if I pick one,” he said. “I believe Tampan, however.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
“(Mayor Kriseman) will defer to Mayor Buckhorn on how to refer to those in Tampa,” spokesperson Ben Kirby said. “He calls St. Pete residents ‘cool.’”
We also asked the office of Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos about a term to describe residents of Clearwater.
Cretekos said, “residents of Clearwater.”
“I cannot say I ever recall hearing anything unique,” he said. “In Tarpon (Springs), I recall ‘Tarponites.’”
City of Clearwater Spokesperon Rob Shaw said he hadn’t heard any phrase to refer to people from Clearwater but offered guesses of “Clearwaterites” and “Clearwaterians."
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