Church of Scientology of Tampa Celebrates 1st Year in New Quarters
The Church of Scientology of Tampa celebrates its first anniversary at Ybor Square.
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (1888PressRelease) April 18, 2012 - YBOR CITY: The Church of Scientology of Tampa is celebrating its first anniversary at the restored Ybor Square. Reopening in March of 2011, the property was a four-fold expansion for the Tampa Church.
"Since we have opened here, we have had a lot of different people come through the property, either because they want to find out more about Scientology, or because they are curious about the history of the building," said Elena Chiancianessi, the Community Affairs Director for the Tampa Church.
"We welcome everyone who is interested in either," she continued. "We have had everything from a busload of tourists from Naples in for a guided historic tour, to a local business man who came by the Public Information Center to do a self-guided tour and find out more about Scientology."
The Public Information Center is a multi-media display with more than 500 short videos depicting different aspects of Scientology and the social betterment campaigns that the Church sponsors throughout the world. These include the Foundation for a Drug Free World, Youth for Human Rights and the Way to Happiness.
A section of the center is about the life of the Founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
"Through photos of his life and interviews with people who used to work with him, a visitor can get a really good idea of what Mr. Hubbard was like," said Chiancianessi.
"He was a licensed pilot, a Master Mariner, an explorer, a bestselling author and a philosopher and humanitarian and he lived his life to the fullest."
Ybor Square itself is a keystone in the history of Ybor City. Built in 1886 by Vicente Martinez Ybor, Ybor Square was the first brick cigar factory built in the United States and in its heyday was the largest cigar factory in the world.
"We had 960 people come in to find out about the history of the building," said Chiancianessi, "and several thousand have seen the Information Center."
Historic points of interest abound throughout the property. Cuban Revolutionary Jose Marti delivered a famous speech from the front steps of Ybor Square, gaining support for the Cubans desire to overthrow the government of Spain. Just inside the front doors, in an office with a restored tin ceiling, is where, per urban legend, the first Cuban sandwich was taste-tested before becoming the lunch of choice for cigar factory workers.
The Chapel of the Church has also been regularly used for events. These events have included a fair trade fashion show, drug education lectures for teens, a reading club of a local mentoring group, old-time radio style readings of pulp fiction stories and awards luncheons and dinners.
The Church of Scientology of Tampa at Ybor Square is open 7 days a week. For more information, please call 813-872-0722.