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On busy thoroughfare, cars replace cattle

Henderson Boulevard, a former cattle trail, was named for William Benton Henderson who made a fortune selling cattle.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 12, 2002

It's easy to feel like a cow in a herd when traffic slows to a crawl. But if you happen to be tied up on Henderson Boulevard, reckoning with its history and namesake could be enough to make you moo.

The modern day road used to be part of a 19th century cattle trail. The man responsible for much of that kind of traffic was William Benton Henderson.

The Georgia native and Civil War veteran amassed a fortune selling cattle, particularly during the Cuban Insurrection of 1868 to 1878, when cattle prices reached record highs. During this time, in 1873, he opened Tampa's largest general store and built a fleet of ships in partnership with Capt. John Miller. He then bought lots of land and became one of Hillsborough County's largest property owners.

He helped found the Tampa Board of Trade, was instrumental in bringing the cigar industry here, and founded numerous other companies. He also served as a council member and county commissioner for several terms. He died in 1909 at age 69.

Source: Tampa Bay History Center

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