Welcome to Tarpon Springs, Florida!
Discover a showcase of treasures in beautiful Tarpon Springs! This community has everything you could want in a tourist destination as well as a hometown.
The pleasant year-around climate draws people to the area for boating, fishing, swimming, golf and other outdoor activities. There are many local parks where you can enjoy nature at its finest.
If shopping is your passion, you can find anything from Greek curios to antiques in the downtown district and on the popular sponge docks. You can savor a variety of cuisine, such as authentic Greek dishes and other ethnic favorites, fresh seafood caught in local waters and scrumptious desserts.
Culture and history buffs will enjoy the many opportunities the city has to offer. You can attend plays, concerts and other productions at the performing arts center. Several museums house displays of historic artifacts, as well as art. No visit to the town would be complete without a tour of the beautiful St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
The Sponge Capital of the World
The founding of the commercial sponge industry in 1890 changed Tarpon Springs forever. The sponge beds were discovered accidentally in 1873 by Key West turtle fishermen whose nets were fouled by sponges off the mouth of the Anclote River.
Spongers moved to the area to work the beds and in 1890 John Cheyney, a Tarpon Springs businessman, opened the Anclote River and Rock Island Sponge Company. During the 1890s, sponge packing houses were built, sponge presses were installed, and buyers moved to town. By 1900 the City was considered the largest sponge port in the United States.
It was, however, the Greek immigrants who expanded and refined sponging in Tarpon Springs. John Corcoris, who arrived in Tarpon in 1896 as a sponge buyer for a New York firm, was responsible for the Greek involvement. John Cheyney financed his early efforts to make the industry more efficient. In 1905 Corcoris introduced the first mechanized sponge fishing boat to Tarpon Springs and brought in 500 divers from Greece. Other Greeks soon followed and established businesses to serve the Greek community, including restaurants, candy shops, coffee houses and grocery stores.