Theodore Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy when the battleship U.S.S. Maine was sunk in Havana Harbor. After the United States declared war on Spain in April 1898, initiating the Spanish American War, Roosevelt resigned his position and joined the military. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt recruited volunteers to serve in the newly organized 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, which soon earned the nickname "Rough Riders." In June 1898, Roosevelt and the Rough Riders camped in Tampa before they disembarked to Cuba. Famed for their charge up Cuba's San Juan Hill, the Rough Riders were brave men who were determined to achieve an independent Cuba, a goal that Tampa's Cuban immigrants had long sought.
Theodore Roosevelt School constructed in 1925, benefits even today from the spirit of the Rough Riders. This school of academic excellence maintains a close relationship with the Tampa Bay Rough Riders, its partner for educational and civic activities.
Designed by B.C. Bonfoey in Mediterranean Revival style, Roosevelt Elementary School includes classic features. Crisp architectural lines are enhanced by subtle ornamental moldings and twin bell towers stand watch over the school much like Teddy's own sentries might have.