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Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon first arrived in the Tampa Bay area in 1513, but the Spaniards focused their attention on settling eastern Florida and left the western areas alone. In 1824, only two months after the arrival of the first American settler, four companies of the U.S. Army established Fort Brooke to protect the strategic harbor at Tampa Bay.
Tampa real estate development began after the territory became part of the United States in 1845. Henry B. Plant's 1884 railroad extension to the Hillsborough River provided access to new areas, and he built lavish hotels along his rail line to attract visitors.
The advent of the automobile was responsible for a large settlement wave that occurred the 1920s. Many subdivisions were built during this era; one of the most notable was Davis Islands, a man-made island created by D.P. Davis. The elegant homes Davis built are still some of the loveliest Tampa real estate to be found.
The main Tampa downtown business district has grown phenomenally since the 1960s. Major banks and an increasing number of other corporations occupy large glass, steel and concrete buildings that tower high above the bay. The Tampa Convention Center, which overlooks the Hillsborough River, offers meeting facilities and features an erupting fire and water sculpture.
Tampa has evolved into a multi-cultural, diverse business center with sustainable communities for its citizens. People of all ages arrive here to escape the worries and winters of wherever they came from and an increasing number of them purchase Tampa real estate and make their permanent homes in the area.