TAMPA, Florida – Macfarlane Park in West Tampa looks a bit brighter thanks to mural artists Edgar Sanchez Cumbas and Jay Giroux.
The mural, titled “Measured,” is located on the east and west facades of the racquetball courts and highlights the many sports played in the Tampa Historical Park at 1700 N. MacDill Ave., Tampa, such as basketball and tennis.
It also highlights boxing, a sport that was popular in West Tampa for many years.
Among the sports stars depicted in the mural are boxing legends Dr. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco and Joe “King” Roman.
Pacheco was doctor and corner man for world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, and Roman, Puerto Rico’s first world heavyweight championship challenger and resident of Tampa, is featured in the mural as a symbol of motivation, inspiration and determination.
“Measured strives to send the message that success is not about victory, but how life’s unexpected paths flourish when you never give up,” said Giroux.
The existing mural in the park, “Kaleidoscope: a heritage of colors”, has also been restored by the artists. It was created in 2005 by Cumbas and Guillermo Portieles who wanted to represent the hardworking residents of West Tampa “who have embraced a thriving social and cultural community through their broad mix of nationalities and religions”.
Based on this concept and with input from community leaders and historians, the “Kaleidoscope: A Legacy of Colors” mural was commissioned by the City of Tampa Public Art Program.
It features five influential figures in Tampa history, including Robert “Bob” Saunders, civil rights activist and director of the NAACP in Florida from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s; Luisa Capetillo, women’s rights activist in the early 1900s; Jose Marti, leader of Cuban independence from Spain, and poet and writer in the late 1800s; Colonel Hugh Macfarlane, the Scottish immigrant and lawyer who founded West Tampa in 1892; and Fernando Figueredo, the first mayor of West Tampa in 1895.
Macfarlane donated the 40 acres for the park in 1909, and the park was completed the same year – April 25, 1909. A historical marker can be found at the end of the main entrance road in honor of Macfarlane, according to Historic Tampa, an interactive web exhibit created and maintained by students and faculty at the University of South Florida.
Newly paved roads and streetcars led to the park, bringing thousands of people to the park every Sunday. Macfarlane Park featured a pavilion built on an artificial mound overlooking the 40 acres donated by Macfarlane, where there were musical performances, dancing and social gatherings.
The landscaped park also included rides and swings as well as picnic areas. A baseball field and a golf course were part of the property’s sports facilities.
Amid the changes that have taken place in West Tampa over the years, Macfarlane Park has remained a constant with the lodge still standing atop the hill.