Tarpon Springs, Florida
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County in west-central Florida is located on the Gulf of Mexico and the Anclote River. It was first settled as a community in 1882 and was incorporated as a city in 1887.
About The Community
The city is named for the tarpon, a game fish that is found in abundance off the coast. The seabed is home to large colonies of sponges and many Greek immigrants came here after 1905 to continue their traditional trade of sponge diving.
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As the sponge industry flourished, Tarpon Springs earned the name “the sponge capital of the world”. In the 1930s, the sponge industry of Tarpon Springs was very prosperous, bringing in millions of dollars to the area. The entire process of collecting and cleaning and processing to export is carried out here. However, in the 1940s, the sea sponge beds were contaminated and destroyed by bacteria, which led to a decline in the natural sponge industry. The industry was revived once more in the 1980s when healthy sea sponges were located in the seabed. Now Tarpon Springs is back to being a leader in supplying the world’s natural sponge market.
One of the early developers of land here was Anson P. K. Safford, former governor of the Arizona Territory. His sister, Dr. Mary J. Safford, was the first woman physician in Florida. Even today, the city’s Greek heritage is evident along the newly refurbished Sponge Docks. Visitors may enjoy dining at unique Greek restaurants and strolling through shops along the beautiful Anclote River. The other Greek traditions also continued here and the annual Epiphany ceremony, an old Greek Orthodox rite, is a colorful event that is held here in January. Other places to visit in Tarpon Springs include Tarpon Avenue, part of the National Main Street program, with its antique shops and artists’ galleries.
Vicinity of Tarpon Springs
Tarpon Springs has some of the most beautiful parks and bayous in Florida. Visitors can enjoy fresh water and deep-sea fishing, world-class golf and manatee watching. Sunset Beach is a favorite with locals for picnics, swimming, and boat launching. It has barbeque grills, sheltered picnic tables, bicycle stands and public restrooms.
Fred Howard Park is a beautiful 150 – acre County Park with a mile-long causeway connecting the offshore swimming area and the mainland. Enjoy children’s playgrounds, fishing, windsurfing and other water sports here. A.L. Anderson Park, a county-owned 128 acre park on Lake Tarpon with pleasant nature trails Enjoy a barbeque picnic here and go fishing and boating on the lake. Highland Nature Park, owned by the City of Tarpon Springs, is a small park rich with natural Florida foliage.
Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital is a 168-bed acute care facility located in Tarpon Springs that has served the health needs of northern Pinellas County and western Pasco County for 75 years as a community-based, non-profit hospital. The hospital offers an extensive range of inpatient, maternity and outpatient services In addition to providing high quality emergency, surgical and acute medical care, Helen Ellis builds health awareness, as well as prevention and early detection of disease.