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6

Ta r p o n

Sp r i n g s

Ch amb e r

. c om

WATERFRONT 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

grocery stores.

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