Ballast Point is a neighborhood in South Tampa. It is largely residential, and canopied by mature oak trees full of Spanish moss. It’s nestled by the Hillsborough Bay to the East, Bayshore Beautiful to the North, and convenient to MacDill Air Force Base, and famed Bayshore Boulevard. Lately, there has been turnover of new construction homes in the neighborhood if builders can find suitable lots to build on.
Home to the Ballast Point Neighborhood Association, Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and Ballast Point Park. There is a 600-foot pier in the park that is open 24 hours. A new boat dock was added recently and there is a boat ramp that is also accessible 24 hours a day. There is lighted parking. Public restrooms are available. There is a small, informal concession at the pier, Taste of Boston, which serves seafood, ice cream and American food.
The Battle of Ballast Point took place on October 18, 1863. It was during the American Civil War, just two days after the Battle of Fort Brooke began. A Union raiding party, under Acting Master T.R. Harris, disembarked at Ballast Point, landing at the current intersection of Gandy Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. Under the protracted diversionary bombardment of the city of Tampa and Fort Brooke by two ships, the USS Tahoma and the USS Adela, the Union divisions marched 14 miles to the Hillsborough River near the site of today’s Lowry Park Zoo. They surprised, captured, and burned two notorious ships, the blockade runner Scottish Chief, a steamship, and the sloop Kate Dale a few miles up the river. The ships were owned by the future mayor of Tampa, James McKay. Escaping capture by mere minutes, with members of his crew in tow, James McKay sped to the city of Tampa and warned all of the landing party and the fate of his ships.