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, which we know today as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd (Hwy 574). Seffner (and neighboring Mango, FloridaMango and Dover, FloridaDover) served as the three primary towns along the South Florida Railroad right-of-way between Tampa and Plant City, FloridaPlant 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 place with successful people, groves, a hotel (later destroyed by fire), one drug store, several dry goods stores and a livery stable. Early pioneer families included the Hookers, Weeks (after whom Lake Weeks was named), Simmons, Mitchells, (their son became Governor of Florida in the early 1900's) Pembertons, Hendersons, Wheelers, Tomberlins, Morris, Harvey, Littles, O'Briens, Beaty, Baucom, Gray and Spencer.
When the yellow fever epidemic hit Tampa in the fall of 1887 and in 1888, many Tampa refugees fled in panic to Seffner for temporary shelter in their hotel (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.
The freeze of 1894 and '95 brought disaster to Seffner. Many citizens left, while others remained to rebuild their losses once more. Yet, Seffner survived and regained its affluence. Attractive subdivisions 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, Florida.
After the Second World War, 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 boon in commerce and further residential development.
Seffner today is a small town between Tampa and Plant City made up of numerous subdivisions with good highway and interstate access. The neighborhoods, local businesses, schools and churches create a welcoming environment for families. Approximately 15 miles east of downtown Tampa, Seffner serves as a suburban haven for commuters. Characterized by towering live oak trees, strawberry farms and pristine lakes, this small town has been growing rapidly. Upscale, gated subdivisions now dot the once rural landscape.