Odessa was founded in the 1880s by Peter Demens, a Russian immigrant who established the community through the Orange Belt Railway. He also founded St. Petersburg, and named both communities after places he used to go to in his native country.
There was once a large sawmill in the area providing employment. This sawmill replaced some smaller ones and was burned in a fire in 1922.
The area is rapidly being developed as Tampa expands.
Odessa was home to Tampa Bay Executive Airport until 2004.