Where you are, your location in relationship to other points on the map is an important factor in how your experience turns out.
As you stand in front of that large Directory at the mall; what’s the first thing you locate on the map? Some symbol; usually a star or dot with the words, “You Are Here.” Knowing where you are is the only way to find out how to get where you are going. Finding the center of Tampaland is no different, because knowing where the middle of a place is, gives us a common point of reference.
In downtown Tampa the avenues, drives, and streets start their separation at the intersection of Ashley Drive and Whiting Street adjacent to the Hillsborough River. Outside of downtown, Florida State Road 60 acts as the North/South divide and U.S. Route 41 Business separates East from West. The two routes, SR60 and US41 intersect a block away from the Ashley/Whiting intersection so splitting the difference doesn’t cause any issues, but it does muddy the conversation on Tampa’s middle just slightly.
Before 1912 Pinellas County did not exist; the land West of Old Tampa Bay along the Gulf of Mexico was a part of Hillsborough County. It is during this time frame when Hillsborough County was much bigger that the true center of Tampaland can be established with a simple distance measurement. The Hillsborough County – Polk County line is 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and the half way point is in downtown Tampa, but where? If you thought about the Ashley/Whiting intersection, you would be correct.
- The tallest building in Tampa Bay is located at the Ashley/Whiting intersection.
- Half way between the pre 1912 county borders is the Ashley/Whiting intersection.
- The Ashley/Whiting intersection is steps away from the intersection of US 41 and SR 60.
- Downtowns are typically in the middle and the Ashley/Whiting intersection is downtown.
The center of Tampaland is where you would expect it to be.