Monday, January 10, 2011

Tarpon Springs, Florida - Florida's Historic Sponge Port

Tarpon Springs, Florida
Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida just north of St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs is a charming and picturesque community with a unique history and culture.

Incorporated in 1887 when the Orange Belt Railroad arrived, the community was named because early settlers observed large tarpon fish playing in local waters. The town quickly became a well-planned boom community thanks to wealthy Northerners who built winter homes there. It boomed even more when natural sponge fisheries were discovered offshore.

Tarpon Springs, Florida
A local businessman opened the Anclote River and Rock Island Sponge Company in 1890 and in less than 20 years Tarpon Springs became the center of the U.S. sponge industry. Divers and their families were brought in from the Greek Isles to work the sponge fisheries and the city became the largest sponge port in the United States.

Sponge fishing continues to this day in the waters off Tarpon Springs, although the industry was all but destroyed by a Red Tide in 1948. It has slowly rebounded over the years, however, and now brings about $2 million per year into the local economy. The real economy of Tarpon Springs is now based on tourism, which brings in more than $20 million a year. Visitors flock to the community to enjoy the beautiful scenery and rich Greek culture which is still quite evident today.

To learn more, please visit

1 comment:

  1. I've been to Tarpon Springs a time or two and love it every time. Good food! Good scenery!