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Sponges piled on dock in Tarpon Springs
Sponges piled on dock in Tarpon Springs. Photo: Nick Caloyianis

Sponge Docks

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 heritage.

Originally submitted by: Michael Bilirakis, Representative (9th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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