New Macfarlane Park Mural Highlights Tampa Boxing Legends

TAMPA, FL – Macfarlane Park in West Tampa looks a little brighter thanks to wall artists Edgar Sanchez Cumbas and Jay Giroux.

The mural, titled “Measured,” is located on the eastern and western facades of the squash courts and highlights the many sports played in the historic Tampa Park at 1700 N. MacDill Ave., Tampa, such as basketball and tennis.

It also features prominently in boxing, a sport that was popular in West Tampa for many years.

Among the sports stars depicted in the mural are boxing legends Dr. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco and Joe “King” Roman.

Pacheco was a physician and cornerman for World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, and Roman, Puerto Rico’s first World Heavyweight Challenger and resident of Tampa, is featured in the mural as a symbol of motivation, inspiration and determination.

“‘Measured’ aims to convey the message that success is not determined by winning, but how life’s unexpected paths flourish when one never gives up,” said Giroux.

The existing mural in the park, “Kaleidoscope: A Heritage of Color”, was also restored by the artists. It was founded in 2005 by Cumbas and Guillermo Portieles who wanted to represent the hardworking residents of West Tampa “who embraced a thriving social and cultural community through their wide mix of nationalities and religions.”

From this concept and with input from community leaders and historians, the mural “Kaleidoscope: a Heritage of Color” was commissioned by the City of Tampa Public Art Program.

It features five influential figures in Tampa history, including Robert “Bob” Saunders, civil rights activist and director of NAACP Florida from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s; Luisa Capetillo, a women’s rights activist in the early 1900s; Jose Marti, leader of Cuban independence from Spain, and a poet and writer in the late 1800s, Colonel Hugh Macfarlane, the Scottish immigrant and lawyer who founded West Tampa in 1892; and Fernando Figueredo, West Tampa’s first mayor in 1895.

Macfarlane donated the 40 acres for the park in 1909, and the park was completed the same year — on April 25, 1909. A historic marker stands at the end of the main entrance road in Macfarlane’s honor, according to Tampa Historical, an interactive web exhibit created and maintained by students and faculty at the University of South Florida.

Newly paved roads and trams led to the park, bringing thousands of people to the park every Sunday. Macfarlane Park had a pavilion built on an artificial hill overlooking the 40 acres donated by Macfarlane, which hosted musical performances, dancing and social gatherings.

The landscaped park also included carousels and swings and picnic areas. A baseball field and golf course were among the on-site sports facilities.

Amid the changes in West Tampa over the years, Macfarlane Park has remained a constant, with the pavilion still standing on top of the hill.

Tampa Historic
Archived photos show the original pavilion and entrance gate to Macfarland Park.

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