Ta r p o n
Sp r i n g s
Ch amb e r
. c omWATERFRONT DINING Dock N’ Dine 727-945-9400 690 Dodecanese Blvd. www.Dimitrisonthewater.com HOME OF THE GREEK CHOW MEIN Once A Week Go Greek! 802 PINELLAS AVE. TARPON SPRINGS, FLORIDA (727) 937-2795 • FAX (727) 934-5405 www.mrsouvlaki.com
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,
Tarpon Springs 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 also 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
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