Sponges piled on dock in Tarpon Springs. Photo: Nick Caloyianis
The once-thriving sponge industry is documented
through photographs and text. At the turn of the century through
1946, the only industry supporting the community of Tarpon Springs
was the sponge industry, and for 30 years it was the largest in
Florida -- larger than citrus or tourism. When a blight wiped out
the sponges after World War II, the industry went into decline.
With the industry now on the rebound, weekly sponge auctions are
held. Sponges bring $15 million to the area and employ 1,000
people. Sponge divers are largely Greeks who settled in Tarpon
Springs, and the project reflects Greek culture, history and
Originally submitted by: Michael Bilirakis, Representative (9th District).
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