Take advantage of a community treasure — the library's Burgert Brothers photo archive collection — and celebrate Black History Month with an exhibit at the Kotler Galley in the John F. Germany Public Library. The exhibit depicts local African-Americans during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Plus, visitors can wander over to the Florida History and Genealogy Department for photos and history of the once thriving Central Avenue business district. For those unfamiliar, the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection presents a unique pictorial record of the commercial, residential and social growth of Tampa Bay and Florida's West coast from the late 1800s to the early 1960s.
Nearly 15,000 images are included in the collection, offering views of citizens at work in cigar factories, at the sponge docks, in strawberry fields, grocery stores, at service stations and in bank lobbies. Many of the photographs also depict a community at leisure, enjoying a day at the beach, participating in local celebrations, attending the Florida State Fair or playing golf, tennis, shuffleboard or checkers. The collection provides an extraordinary connection to the past preserved at the John F. Germany Public Library for the public to view and use.