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Amateur paleontologist now sings about Ybor history

Frank Garcia holds some of his prehistoric manatee and dugong vertebrae. He wrote a song about the Ybor City of his youth and is writing another about his grandparents’ meeting in Ybor.

SKIP O\u2019ROURKE | Times files\uFEFF

Frank Garcia holds some of his prehistoric manatee and dugong vertebrae. He wrote a song about the Ybor City of his youth and is writing another about his grandparents’ meeting in Ybor.

RUSKIN — Amateur paleontologist Frank Garcia, probably best known for unearthing ancient bones in Ruskin's Leisey Shell Pit in 1983, is now making his name as a songwriter and singer.

His newest song, Corazon de Tampa, was recently posted on YouTube, along with a montage of historical photos of Ybor City.

The song is about growing up in Ybor City in the late 1940s and early '50s. He reminisces about the fruit sellers, the red-brick streets and the deviled crabs sold in restaurants.

"It was just all so beautiful," he said.

He sent a copy to Mayor Pam Iorio several weeks ago but has yet to hear from her. He figures she's just busy, but he has hopes that it will become the official song of Tampa.

Garcia, who lives in Ruskin now, started working on the song about three months ago, and a friend helped him digitally orchestrate the music. He's working on another song now, called Cafe con Leche Sola, a love story about his grandparents' meeting in Ybor City.

"I'm going to have a concept album eventually," he said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

fast facts

To listen to Frank Garcia's song

Visit and search for Corazon de Tampa or find it directly at

Amateur paleontologist now sings about Ybor history 11/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 1:36pm]
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