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Pioneer family gave land for park

Arthur Weston Cuscaden planted one of the city's first orange groves, and the park was built where citrus grew.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 19, 2002

Named for a pioneer Tampa resident, the park at 15th Street and 21st Avenue in Ybor City was the training ground for many of the world-class baseball players Tampa has produced over the decades.

Lebanon, Ohio, native Arthur Weston Cuscaden came to Tampa in 1878. He homesteaded his final residence at what is now 1406 E Columbus Drive. He planted one of Tampa's first orange groves, and remained active in the citrus industry until retirement. He served as mayor pro tem during the administration of James McKay, and also served several terms on City Council and the School Board.

In 1890, he married Frances Robles of another prominent Tampa pioneer family.

In 1937, the park was built by the federal Works Project Administration on orange grove land donated by the Cuscaden family. Baseball greats Tony La Russa, Al Lopez, Lou Piniella and Tony Saladino, as well as tennis champion Judy Alvarez, all played as youths at the park.

Cuscaden died in 1941 at 82.

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