Seffner is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. The population was 7,579 at the 2010 census, although its ZIP codes (33584 & 33583), whose boundaries extend beyond the ones given by the census and which include the places of Mango and a portion of Thonotosassa, have a population of around 35,000.
Approximately 15 miles east of downtown Tampa, Seffner serves as a suburban haven for commuters. While still characterized by towering live oak trees, strawberry farms and lakes, this small town has been growing rapidly. Housing subdivisions now dot the once rural landscape.
Location in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida
Seffner is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), of which, 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (2.95%) is water.
According to the Seffner Chamber of Commerce, the exact date of Seffner's founding is unknown. Some historians claim that Seffner's streets were originally laid out in 1862, but not recorded as a plat formally until 1885. Seffner's post office was opened in 1884, once a new railroad line in the area had been planned. The community was in fact named for its first postmaster, F.P. Seffner. That same year, Seffner's first school and store were opened. The main thoroughfare leading north and south was Lenna Avenue and leading east and west was Highway Number 23, renamed Buffalo Avenue, because of its erstwhile use as a buffalo trail, and then renamed again in 1989 to its current name, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (Hwy 574). Seffner (and neighboring Mango and Dover) served as the three primary towns along the South Florida Railroad right-of-way between Tampa and Plant City. These towns owe their existence and prosperity to the railroad, each becoming an important shipping center.
According to Ernest Robinson, County Historian, Seffner quickly became a prosperous small community with citrus groves, a hotel (later destroyed by fire), one drug store, several dry goods stores and a livery stable. Early pioneer families included Hooker, Weeks (after whom Lake Weeks was named), Simmons, Mitchell (the son became Governor of Florida in the early 1900s), Pemberton, Henderson, Wheeler, Tomberlin, Morris, Harvey, Little, O'Brien, Beaty, Baucom, Gray and Spencer.
When an epidemic of yellow fever hit Tampa in the fall of 1887 and in 1888, many Tampa refugees fled in panic to Seffner for temporary shelter in the hotel there (non-extant). However, as refugees and mail arrived in Seffner, they were fumigated as protection from the epidemic. Among the refugees was T.C. Taliaferro of the First National Bank of Tampa, who operated a branch banking business from Seffner during the epidemic.
First Baptist Church of Seffner was founded in 1888.
The freeze in the winter of 1894–1895 brought disaster to Seffner. Many citizens left, while others remained to recoup their losses. Seffner survived and regained its affluence. Attractive residential neighborhoods were built to accommodate the influx of desirable residents. The beauty and popularity of the area, including Lakes Hooker, Locarno and Weeks, prompted others to relocate to the area. By 1925, Seffner was the fourth-largest town in Hillsborough County.
After World War II, Seffner became a sleepy Florida town with many residents relocating to Tampa. Today, visitors can still see vestiges of older buildings and farms along the back roads of Seffner. As Tampa and neighboring Brandon expand eastward, Seffner is expected to benefit from a boom in commerce and further residential development.
In early 2013 the town made headlines when one of its residents was swallowed up by a sinkhole that grew under his bedroom.