Some days it takes me taking a day off of work to pull a post together — today is that day! Woo! Diving into Scientology – not the religion – 2 buildings in 2 different cities that house the group. First up, Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa located just northeast of downtown, founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain, and Italy.
The factory was built in 1886 by Vicente Martinez-Ybor as he moved the production of his Príncipe de Gales (“Prince of Wales”) cigar line from Key West to the new company town he founded just northeast of Tampa in 1885.
The three-story structure was the first brick cigar factory in Tampa and the largest cigar factory in the world at the time. Over the next few decades, skilled tabaqueros (cigar makers) would roll hundreds of millions of cigars on wooden workbenches set close together in the building’s wide, sunlit rolling rooms.
After Ybor died in 1896, the building was owned by a succession of other cigar manufacturers and continued to be a productive cigar factory until after World War II, when the industry (and Ybor City in general) entered a long period of decline.
Over the next few decades, the buildings were vacant, then were used as gallery and studio space for artists, then converted to a festival marketplace called Ybor Square in the mid-1970s. In 2002, the buildings were converted to office space with the exception of a franchise of the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant, which is still located in the former tobacco storage warehouse.
In 2010, the entire complex was purchased by the Church of Scientology, reportedly to consolidate a smaller location in Ybor City with another in West Tampa.
The Ybor Factory building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on November 15, 1972.
Next up, Denver:
Via Scientology Denver
The American Radiator Company Building, now home of the Church of Scientology of Denver, was originally constructed in 1916. It stands in the heart of the Ballpark Neighborhood Historic District in Lower Downtown, one block from Coors Field.
The building is among the finest examples of late 19th and early 20th century industrial architecture that proliferated in Denver as the city evolved into a major capital of the American West. It further epitomizes the trend of historic preservation that began in the 1980s and revitalized Lower Downtown into a thriving hub of the city.
After acquiring the landmark building, the Church meticulously preserved its historic features during renovation. Today the heritage of the American Radiator Company Building is fully intact—from the neoclassical marble entrance, terra cotta highlights and rooftop parapet, to the ornamental window grilles and oak-paneled entry hall.
Dedicated as the home of the Church of Scientology in June 2012, the landmark remains both a tribute to Denver’s past and a signpost to its future.
The Church preserved the historic façade of the landmark American Radiator Company Building, most notably its stately 24th Street entrance of pure-white Colorado Yule marble.This sign totally caught my eye: And this R made me fall in love:What a beauty!