“…Come share this golden age with me…”


“Glory Days” – PULP (1998)

(10 photos)

At 7630 Broadway Avenue, in a once prosperous neighborhood on Cleveland’s southeast side, the building pictured above was built in the late 1800’s with the promise of a new century before it. With commanding doric columns, and beautiful exterior complements, it was a notable piece to Cleveland’s South Broadway community.

The last photo in this set was taken in 1939 of the same building and vantage point, and is borrowed courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery. The Amster-Kirtz Cigar Company, which was headquarterd here eventually relocated and today still exists in Ohio under the name The Amster-Kirtz Company and are regional wholesale distributors of candy, tobacco and groceries. The Erie Savings and Loan, which was incorporated at this location in 1923, and the Cleveland Liberty Bank, also former tenants (whose name plates still exist on the building today) are gone as well. Today the facilities are home to a second-hand furniture and appliance shop.

Top 9 photos taken June 22, 2015


“I went down, down, down and the flames went higher… and it burns, burns, burns…”

“Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash (1963)
“Ring of Fire” – Social Distortion (1990)

One of the many beautiful sculptures that line the 276 acre park along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard– known as the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The Park, which was conceived in 1916, has been an ongoing project since then, growing to 31 different gardens celebrating ethnic cultures around the world that have had an impact on America. Here, a bronze statue of Dante Alighieri, in the Italian Cultural Garden section of the park, rendered by Cleveland sculpture, Sandro Bonaiuto, in 2012.

Dante is best known for his epic poem, considered one of the finest world literary masterpieces of all time: “Divine Comedy.” In this work, Dante depicts his journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.

The above photo was taken October 15, 2013

Here, a scan of one of my original vintage Tampa cigar labels: “Dante” brand cigars, produced in Tampa, Florida during the 1910’s. A beautiful rendition of the Poet, Dante Alighieri.

“…When it’s too hot, I light it up… Light it up… yeah, smoke ’em if you got ’em…”

“HARLEM” – New Politics (2013)

At the Tampa Cigar Heritage Festival
Centennial Park
Ybor City
Tampa, Florida

Photo taken November 17, 2006

“A moment like a poem, you wish you could hold it… I shut my eyes like it’s frozen, it’s gone when I open”

“Undeniable” – Matt Kearney (2006)

Gispert Maduro – Londsdale, cigar
South Chagrin Reservation
Cleveland Metroparks
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Photo taken September 5, 2012

“…Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail…”


At the Chagrin Falls Metroparks
Photo taken September 5, 2012

“He smoked a big cigar.. drove a cadillac car…”

Rock and Roll Band – BOSTON (1976)

The J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Ybor City
Tampa, Florida
Established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1895
Cuesta-Rey brand established in Tampa, Florida in 1884

The J.C. Newman Cigar Company moved from Cleveland to Tampa in 1954 and eventually purchased the Cuesta-Rey brand. Today it is the largest family-owned premium cigar manufacturer in the world– maker of many high quality hand rolled cigar brands, including Arturo Fuente, Diamond Crown, Brick House and Cuesta-Rey.

Photo taken September 9, 2006

From my vintage Tampa cigar label collection:

Cigar Box inner label, circa early 1900’s:

Cuesta-Rey promotional card, circa late 1920’s

cigar band, circa early 1900’s

LIFE magazine Cuesta-Rey advertisement, circa 1920’s

“Like a bird on a wire…”

“Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen (1968)

A Ladybug found it’s way onto this hand rolled cigar that I purchased in Ybor City – Tampa, Florida.

Photo taken September 9, 2006

“You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave”

“Hotel California” – The Eagles (1976)

Photo taken October 26, 2001

On the banks of the Hillsborough River, the former Tampa Bay Hotel, has been a national gem since its opening in 1891. Built by Railroad Tycoon Henry B. Plant, the lavish structure, of Moorish architectural design, boasted 511 rooms and covered over 6 acres of land and over 150 acres of lush grounds for guests to enjoy.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the United States Military used the hotel and it’s grounds as a base of operations. Teddy Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders” prepared for battle on these grounds, and Roosevelt took comfort in a luxury suite in the hotel, while enlisted men stayed in near-by tents. Years later, Hall of Fame baseball player Babe Ruth signed his first Major League contract at the hotel, surely, with a Tampa hand rolled “Optimo” Cigar (his favorite) clamped between his teeth!

Following depression era hard times, the hotel closed in 1930. In 1933, the Tampa Bay Junior College established residence in the old hotel and the school eventually grew in size and became known as The University of Tampa. Currently, “Plant Hall” as the treasured building is named today, houses University of Tampa administrative offices and student oriented areas, as well as the Henry B. Plant Museum.

The Tampa Life cigar box featured the Tampa Bay Hotel prominently on it’s inner label artwork, to attract customers during the time that the hotel was in operation.

One of Babe Ruth’s favorite cigar brands was OPTIMO, also hand rolled in Tampa, the cigar capital of the world at the time!

Acid Blondie

“ACID BLONDIE” – Drew Estate

Photo taken February 4, 2012

“Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…”

“(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” – Otis Redding (1967)

Smoking a Drew EstateAcid Cold Infusion Tea” cigar with Blondie, on my birthday, in the Rocky River Reservation Metroparks, near Cleveland, Ohio… Everything was perfect that day!

Photo taken on April 20, 2012

Hand rolled cigar city

Arturo Fuente Cigars
Ybor City
Tampa, Florida.

Photo taken September 9, 2006