Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Tarpon Springs Sponge Industry
The Gulf waters off the west coast of Florida north of Tampa Bay comprise one of the few areas of the world where the species of natural sponges suitable for commercial use are found. The natural sponge industry in Tarpon Springs dates from about 1890 when John K. Cheyney launched his first sponge-fishing boat. Sponges were retrieved by hooking until the technique of diving for sponges was introduced in 1905 by John Cocoris, a recent immigrant from Greece, where the practice of sponge diving was common. Within a few years, many Greeks had arrived in the area to work in the sponging industry.
The Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange was incorporated in 1908 as a shareholding organization to provide for the storage and sale of sponges. The peak of prosperity for the Tarpon Springs sponge industry came in the 1930's. In 1939 the sponge beds in the area suffered from a disease which substantially reduced the crop of healthy sponges for several years. In spite of the decline in the sponge industry, the Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange has continued to serve as a focal point for the Greek Community.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce.
Location. 28° 9.34′ N, 82° 45.669′ W. Marker is in Tarpon Springs, Florida, in Pinellas County. Marker is on Dodecanese Boulevard ¼ mile west of North Pinellas Avenue (Alternate U.S. 19), on the right when traveling west. The marker is located on the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, across the street from the Sponge Exchange. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Tarpon Springs FL 34689, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Craig Park War Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); St. Ignatius of Antioch Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); Rose Cemetery (approx. 1.6 miles away); West Elfers Cemetery (approx. 4.2 miles away); The Baker House (approx. 4½ miles away); Elfers (approx. 4½ miles away); Site of the Blue Heron Hotel and Faith Mission (approx. 4½ miles away); Gulf Shore Park (approx. 4.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tarpon Springs.
Also see . . . Sponge fishing in Key West and Tarpon Springs. At the end of the 19th century the sponge fishing industry, and later sponge diving industry, was (Submitted on March 29, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 12, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 29, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. This page has been viewed 715 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 29, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 30, 2015.