The blog

Another (More Recent) Tampa History Lesson

Some would lead you to believe that the campaign to preserve the Bro Bowl is relatively new and merely a last-ditch effort to impede the progress of modern skateboarding and the City of Tampa’s plans to revitalize Perry Harvey Sr. Park. This article from 2006 contains evidence to the contrary. Published long before local journalists aligned themselves with the political agenda that seeks to destroy a piece of its own City’s history, the article clearly states how the community has felt for nearly a decade.

Misinformation has been the most popular tactic employed in the effort to destroy the Bowl. First, it was that the Bowl had to go because of the widening of Orange Avenue, (which was later refuted) and then it stood in the way of honoring Central Avenue History (which has also since been proven false). Now it has come down to the Bowl must be demolished “just because”.

During the latest discussions the City has maintained that the “consensus” supports their plan. Take a few minutes to read this article that dates back to when the topic of destroying the Bowl was first introduced and note the details. Considering the direction Perry Harvey Sr. Park is headed, many elements of Central Avenue will reborn, including soul, jazz, and segregation.

Colliding cultures
Which way do you go when renovating a park that has historical significance for black residents - and for white skateboarders?
Published November 6, 2006
St. Petersburg Times (Now Tampa Bay Times)

Another Tampa History Lesson

On this date, June 11th, forty-seven years ago, a young, unarmed, African-American man by the name of Martin Chambers was shot and killed by one white Tampa Police officer by the name of James Calvert. According to a Tampa Tribune article dated June 12, 1967: “The .38 caliber bullet struck Chambers square in the back and killed him almost instantly. Within the hour reports of the shooting spread throughout the Central Avenue Housing project as residents gathered in the streets and near the shooting location to seek immediate answers.” The African-American community reacted almost immediately following the shooting. Riots, violence, and the burning and looting of local businesses quickly ensued. Several buildings along Central Avenue were destroyed as tensions continued to mount.

As the State Attorney Began to investigate the incident, rumors spread surrounding the shooting and the violence and destruction continued. A mere two days later Officer Calvert was exonerated of all charges as the shooting was ruled “a justifiable homicide". Several days of civil disturbances continued and ultimately peace was restored by a community group which came to be known as “The White Hats”.

You may ask, what does the shooting of a teenager and civil unrest have to do with the Bro Bowl? It has a great deal of significance. After the White Hats restored order, the community was asked what they would like to see in order to provide for a positive outlet for the youth of Central Avenue. There were several suggestions, and amongst them was the desire for a municipal park within the urban corridor for African-Americans to enjoy. Tampa City Council passed resolution 3692-F on December 11, 1975, which provided for the construction of said park. The park, which was later named in honor of Perry Harvey Sr., contained several amenities for the youth. Among them were tennis and basketball courts, a splash fountain for children of all ages, and both skateboarding and roller skate rinks.

While some claim that the Bro Bowl and Perry Harvey Sr. Park share none of the history of Central Avenue, and would rather focus on figures such as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and other famous entertainers, we invite you to discover a chapter of Tampa history that is seldom discussed. Central Avenue and the businesses there were erased forty years ago, only to be honored in the same park through the destruction of a piece of that same said history. How many encores of this dark chapter of our history can our city endure?

For further reading, please visit the following links:

Central Avenue Riots: The Real Story
Cigar City Magazine, February 10, 2011

Sample 3 - The 1967 Central Park Riots in Tampa
JAM1592, February 22, 2008

Myths & Facts: Central Avenue, Perry Harvey Sr. Park, and the Bro Bowl
18 Myths about Central Avenue, Perry Harvey Sr. Park, and the Bro Bowl Addressed, Debunked, and Explained

Skaters rally to preserve downtown Tampa's "Bro Bowl"

Story by Carson Chambers for ABC Action News, featuring Shannon Bruffett and filmmaker/photographer Lance Robson. Robson was behind the documentary, The Bro Bowl: 30 Years of Tampa Concrete (2008). Clips from the documentary include some Tampa historic figures and present day skate and industry legends. Paul Schmitt, Chuck Hults, and Chuck Dinkins can be seen. To view the video, click here or click on any of the images below.


Skateboarders rally to save Tampa’s Bro Bowl

The Tampa Tribune recently covered the effort to save the Bro Bowl. Skateboarders rally to save Tampa's Bro Bowl was written by Kathy Steele of the Tribune, and it was published on April 11, 2013.

tampa trib

History Wanted!

If you have any historical documentation, vintage photographs, or narratives that pertain to the Bro Bowl and/or its history or significance, please email us here. We are trying to collect and document as much of the Bowl's history as possible.

david cavaliere art 2 crop

Painting by Davie Cavaliere

Protest the THA's choice neighborhood grant application

From Edwin Velez:
Protest the THA's choice neighborhood grant application in this article if you want to keep the bowl from being "re-designed."

Another $30 million sought for Encore development

david cavaliere art crop

Painting by Davie Cavaliere

The Bro Bowl: 30 years of Tampa concrete

This is not one of the trailers, but the full-length documentary, courtesy of the filmmakers—John X. Dmaio, Troy Durrett, and Lance Robson, and Eye Splice Creative. Thanks, guys!

Florida Skate Museum

Florida Skate Museum has a new facebook page and a new website. You can find a little bit of Bro Bowl history there.

florida skate museum

Go Skateboarding Day 2011

Go Skate Day 2011

GoPro Goofin'

High-speed edited footage of the Bro Bowl, some surfing, and other stuff.
"A small sample of the ridiculous amount of clips taken with the GoPro during 2010. 2011 resolution, get away from the gulf coast of florida and get some better surfing vids."

Bro Bowl documentary trailer, #1

Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Christian Hosoi, and Kevin Staab Get Ready For The Quiksilver All 80's All Day Vert Challenge

Fun. Next time you guys come to Florida, let's do an All Day Bank Challenge at the Bro Bowl.

New paint

The Bro Bowl got a new paint layer! How thick is that paint now?

Freerider Skatecycle visits the Bro Bowl, looking for hot talent

Brooklyn Workshop flies to Florida:
"Took a trip to Tampa and found some guys with skills! The Freerider Skatecycle takes flight."

Brooklyn Workshop films FREERIDER SKATECYCLE promo at the Bro Bowl

The Award Winning Skatecycle - Hammacher Schlemmer

The ad was shot at the Bro Bowl.

Click on the "Play Video" link at the Hammacher Schlemmer web page: "This is the skatecycle—the next generation recreational vehicle that won an International Design Excellence Award and a permanent place in the Henry Ford Museum."

skatecyce hammcaher S

Tricks You Can Do at the Bro Bowl, #2

curb crusher

Tricks You Can Do at the Bro Bowl, #1

shoot the duck

DVD cover art for "The Bro Bowl: 30 years of Tampa concrete"

DVD cover

From Mild in the Park to Wild in the Streets in Tampa

From Rob Meronek at Skatepark of Tampa:
Go Skateboarding Day was nuts in Tampa. We started with Andrew Reynolds, Ed Templeton, Marquis Preston, and Bryan Herman skating at Skatepark of Tampa on Sunday and then pushing through the streets with three or four hundred skaters.

mild to wild

Video clip from Skatepark of Tampa on YouTube: