TAMPA, Fla. — "The Scrub" was a community settled in the post-civil war era. By the late 1920s, it was the most densely populated Black neighborhood in Tampa.
Today, the area is home to the Encore housing development.
“The housing development area that we know today as Encore many years ago was part of The Scrub community,” Fred Hearns, historian at Tampa Bay History Center said. “Named after a small palmetto-type plant that was all over that area and these plants formed an area that people just called the Scrubs and that’s where many Black people settled. It was between downtown Tampa and Ybor City and it was an area that was pretty much 100% African American. There were some Black people there from the Caribbean also.”
“The Scrub, many years later, became an area known as public housing in Central Park Village. Central Park Village was built in the 1950s and it remained Central Park Village until around 2010. At that time, all those old apartments were torn down and the new development that is named Encore was built. As a matter of fact, there’s still buildings going up in that area. That area is owned by the federal government, by HUD, managed by Tampa Housing Authority," Hearns said.
“Beautiful housing that replaced the Scrub where many, many people lived in poverty in the early 1900s. Today, it’s a model for public housing development in the nation.”