December 15 is recognized as Clara Barton Day in the City of Tampa by mayoral proclamation! The honorary citation recognizes Clara as a "trailblazer, humanitarian, activist, educator, nurse and author."
In 1898, Clara established an American Red Cross headquarters in Tampa on Plant Avenue during the Spanish-American War. She educated nurses with intensive emergency medical training and brought them to Cuba to provide relief to soldiers and Cuban civilians.
Nearly 20 years after the Spanish-American War, the Tampa Chapter of the American Red Cross was chartered in 1917 as a response to World War I, and has been serving the community ever since.
In further recognition of Clara’s many contributions to the nation and to the Tampa community, the Tampa Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a Clara Barton Historical Marker along beautiful Bayshore Blvd. in 2018, honoring the important work that Clara did in Tampa.
It's so inspiring to have this permanent visual reminder of our fearless founder's many contributions, in what is now the regional headquarters for the American Red Cross of Central Florida!
The marker text reads:
FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
Clarissa 'Clara' Harlowe Barton traveled through Tampa, in 1898, on her way to and from Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Barton often stayed at the home of J. Mack Towne, which was located just north of this marker at 350 Plant Avenue. There she established a headquarters for the American Red Cross to coordinate relief efforts during the war. In early 1895, the Cuban war for liberty began as the result of the demands by Cuban patriots for independence from Spanish rule. News of the Cuban peasants' struggle against Spanish oppression aroused American sympathy to their cause. In 1898, at the age of 77, Barton obtained permission to travel to Cuba to ease the suffering of Cuban civilians against the Spanish Reconcentration.
On April 25, 1898, the United States government declared war on Spain due, in part, to America's support of the ongoing struggle by Cubans and Filipinos against Spanish rule and the mysterious explosion of the battleship U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. Barton waited here, at the Red Cross headquarters, while soldiers assembled in Tampa before embarking to Cuba. While in Tampa, her nurses received intensive emergency medical training. Barton followed the military to Cuba bringing nurses and supplies. Thsi was the first time the Red Cross assisted the U.S. military. During the conflict, Barton and the American Red Cross brought relief to Cuban civilians and both American and Spanish soldiers. On August 12, 1898, Spain surrendered, bringing an end to the Spanish American War. Barton left Cuba on September 10, 1898, passing through Tampa one last time.
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Hillsborough County Historical Advisory Council