When most tourists come to Tampa, they plan to spend their days lounging on sandy beaches or hurtling through the air on rollercoasters. But Tampa’s past since its settlement in 1824 means its history is not all a sunny, vacationer’s paradise. Don’t let the blinding Florida sun fool you; there is a darkness that lurks in the corners of this city…
If you’re brave enough to face the horrors, begin your twisted journey at the Old Federal Courthouse. While it has transformed in recent years into the shiny, chic Le Meridien Hotel, it has a legacy of murder, vengeful gangsters, and crimes left unsolved. The steps of this historic building will forever be dripping with the blood of its past.
The Ghost of Charlie Wall
Ybor City started in 1885 as a community primarily of Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked at the infamous cigar factories. Only two years later, Tampa annexed Ybor City.
One of the most prominent mafia figures in Ybor in the 1930s, Charlie Wall’s reach extended into Tampa, controlling business and claiming his turf across the city. He was lord of the city’s corrupt, criminal underworld, dabbling in gambling, prostitution, and more.
But no level of power in life can outrun death. And Wall died just as he lived: in an unusual, inhumane way. In 1950, Charlie Wall was called to testify in the Old Federal Courthouse before an investigative committee. They were looking for intel on organized crime. In an attempt at self-preservation, Wall spilled years worth of secrets. While this act bought him some time in the eyes of the law, it sealed his fate in stone in the eyes of the criminal underworld.
Five years later, Wall met his brutal fate, murdered at the hands of an unknown culprit. To this today, no one knows who was responsible, although rumor has it that the Trafficante crime family carried out the hit.
Today, Wall’s ghost appears walking up and down the steps of the Old Federal Courthouse Building. It’s as if he’s waiting for justice that he feels he deserves.