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Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs, with its series of bayous feeding into the Gulf of Mexico, first attracted attention as a place for winter homes about 1876. Some of the newly arrived visitors spotted tarpons jumping out of the waters and so named the location Tarpon Springs. The first Greek immigrants arrived in this city during the 1880s, when they were hired to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry.

In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs. Cocoris recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece leading to a very productive sponge industry in Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year. The 1953 film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, depicting sponge diving, takes place and was filmed in Tarpon Springs.

Today, Tarpon Springs is small city of 23,000 with an unusual mix of Greek culture and Victorian and Floridian architecture. The city is full of parks, bayous, and brick streets, and boasts two distinct downtowns. The National Register of Historic Places lists downtown Tarpon Springs, which is a mix of antique shops, boutiques, galleries, and museums. The internationally renowned Sponge Docks is a traditional Greek sponge fishing enclave, settled which has grown into a tourist Mecca.

Tarpon Springs is perhaps most famous for its 100-year-old annual Epiphany celebration, involving Greek Orthodox young men diving for a cross that's thrown into Spring Bayou. Today the population is rapidly expanding. More and more businesses, families, and retirees are discovering the magic of Tarpon Springs.



Tarpon Springs

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