"Seffner's post office was opened in 1884, after the existence of the new railroad was a certainty. Actually, the community had existed at least for several years as "Lenna City," while the railroad was being built. The community is named for its first postmaster, F.P. Seffner. Seffner, Mango and Dover were the three principal towns along the South Florida Railroad right-of-way between Tampa and Plant City. They owe their existence and prosperity to the railroad. Each became an important shipping center and Seffner was the fourth largest town in the county by 1925.
It is said that streets in the town originally were laid out in 1862, but Not recorded as a plat formally until 1885. With the coming of the railroad, Seffner, had its first store in 1884, about the time its first school was opened. The main thoroughfare leading north and south was Lenna Avenue and leading east and west was Highway Number 23, which we know today as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd (Hwy 574).
A few of the early pioneers were, Hookers, Weeks, Simmons, Mitchells, (their son became Governor of Florida in the early 1900's) Pembertons, Hendersons, Wheelers, Tomberlins, Morris, Harvey, Littles, O'Briens, Beaty, Baucom, Gray & Spencer.
According to Ernest Robinson, County Historian, Seffner became a prosperous little place with prosperous people, groves, a hotel (later destroyed by fire), one drug store, several dry goods stores and a livery stable. The neat wooden side walks of that period were also one of the town's improvements. When the yellow fever epidemic hit Tampa in the fall of 1887 and in 1888, panic was such that many Tampa "refugees" fled to Seffner for temporary domiciles. The community boasted a fine hotel (non-extant) and neat wooden sidewalks. In Seffner, refugees and mails were fumigated as protection from the epidemic. Among the refugees was T.C. Taliaferro of the First National Bank of Tampa, who thereupon operated a branch banking business from Seffner during the epidemic.
In the summer of 1888, a two-story building used as headquarters of the mail clerk and the railroad agent during the epidemic became the scene of the only Democratic convention said to have ever been held outside Tampa. The freeze of 1894 and '95 brought more disaster to Seffner. Many citizens left, while others remained to rebuild their losses once more. Seffner became prosperous once again. Attractive sub-divisions were built to accommodate the recent boom of desirable residents. The beauty and popularity of the area, such as Lakes Hooker and Weeks, was a driving force for others to relocate to the area.
The ever popular Spencer Park, where the Confederate soldiers met each year, as well as Lake Locarno, which drew the attention of the local fishermen, were also helpful to the rise in the population. Soon there were many rising business establishments. Among these were five stores, two garages (owing to its location on the Tampa-Lakeland Road), a number of large poultry and truck farms and a modern tourist camp. There were also facilities for the shipment of citrus and produce. Churches began to spring up which offered educational organizations.
After the Second World War, agricultural techniques changed and a more
car-oriented society preferred to live in the fashionable popular
developing neighborhoods in Tampa. The era of the small farmer passed.
As the network of hard-surfaced roads expanded, the flexibility of
shipping by truck rather than rail marked the beginning of the end of
railroad dependence and with it Seffner's, as well as most of the other rural community's, raison e'etre." (from the Chamber of Commerce)
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