Bryan Weinstein is a 30-year-old civil engineer who has become Tampa's "time detective." His website, www.tampachanging.com, compares historical photos with pictures he has taken of notable spots in Tampa.
On a recent walk in the Channel District, he pointed to one of the sleek condo/retail buildings.
"My research shows it used to house Model-T Fords."
As it turns out, Weinstein had found a decades-old photo of that same building. And sure enough, it was an old warehouse.
When he matches his new photo with the old one, a startling time transformation plays out before your eyes. The old warehouse morphs into the new, modern-industrial style building. There's no mistaking, they're one in the same.
Weinstein finds historical photos in local libraries, then sets out to see how time has changed each one. Tampachanging.com has drawn interest from all over the country.
"Grandchildren write to me about how their grandparents used to own a movie theatre or a diner or other various building here," he says.
To create the visual time warp, he positions himself in the very same spot where the original photographer stood, maybe a hundred years ago or more.
He says some of the historic commercial buildings and homes look the same as they did a century ago. But, many are gone.
"There used to be 200 cigar factories. Now, there's a dozen left, and half of those are abandoned."
Weinstein says he's not a crusader for historical preservation. In fact, he says some buildings look better now. But, he believes historical structures are important.
"I think they're important to our future," he says.
If this digital look back is so interesting to us, our children and grandchildren may be even more fascinated by the time warp created at Tampachanging.com.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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