Fort Brooke fell to the Union in 1863 and after the American Civil War, the Reconstruction period was one of hardship in the area. A small fishing village, often plagued by yellow fever due to the mosquitoes, and with few land links, Tampa did not begin to prosper until phosphate was discovered in the Bone Valley in 1883. The mineral, vital in the production of fertilizers and many other products, was soon shipped northwest to the Port of Tampa in great quantity. The coming of Henry Plant’s Atlantic Coast Line railroad to Tampa finally provided a reliable overland connection, allowing fish and phosphate to be shipped north. Plant also ran a steamship line out of the port in Tampa that connected south to Cuba. This link to Cuba, along with the Tampa Board of Trade helping Vincente Martinez Ybor move his cigar manufacturing operations from Cuba to Tampa, brought a large new industry to Tampa. Ybor built hundreds of homes for his employees, and this influx together with new supporting trade, helped to build up the town. Ybor City, as the neighborhood became known, still occupies two square miles near downtown Tampa. Many Italian—mainly from Sicily—and eastern European Jewish immigrants also came to the area in the late 1880s. Today’s Amtrak trains pass through this historic neighborhood.
Union Station opened on May 15, 1912 to serve the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Tampa Northern railroads. Designed by architect J.F. Leitner in Italian Renaissance style, the station was managed by the Tampa Union Station Company. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1974.
copied from "The Great American Stations"
The building was renovated in 1999.
I wish I could say that the station is in a good part of town, but it is not. However with transportation between Tampa and Orlando costing less then a tank of gas, it has become a new found resource of transportation.