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What's in a name?

A Scottish lawyer in a Latin city

Hugh C. Macfarlane came to Tampa in 1884, was named city attorney and then state attorney.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 14, 2003


It seems a curious name for a park in West Tampa, a traditional Latin enclave.

But if that isn't incongruous enough, consider that MacFarlane Park and its surrounding area isn't technically in West Tampa anymore.

And we won't even get into the uppercase-lowercase "f" thing.

Hugh C. Macfarlane was born in Grossmylouf, Scotland, in 1851. He came to this country with his parents as a teenager. By the time he moved to Tampa in 1884, he was an experienced lawyer with a law degree from Boston University. Three years later he was appointed city attorney, and in 1893 state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit.

Appointments to the Board of Public Works and Board of Port Commissioners furthered his local prominence. In 1892, inspired by the actions of Vincente Martinez Ybor six years earlier, Macfarlane offered free land and buildings to cigar manufacturers a few miles northwest of Tampa proper.

His initiative paid off. In 1895 West Tampa incorporated as its own city and came to rival Ybor City in cigar production. In 1925, West Tampa was annexed into greater Tampa.

Macfarlane worked for and formed several law firms until his death in 1935 at age 83.

The city park named for him is on MacDill Avenue just north of Interstate 275. Though in the heart of what was known as West Tampa, today's neighborhood boundaries place it in Northeast MacFarlane. Another neighborhood named MacFarlane Park is immediately south of the city park.

Okay, about the f's: Macfarlane -- the man's name -- is spelled with the lowercase "f." But over time the spellings of his namesakes often use the uppercase f. One exception is the modern-day version of his law firm, Macfarlane Ferguson and McMullen.

-- Source: Tampa Bay History Center

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