Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
Tarpon Springs, 43
Located 11.86 miles from Palm Pavilion InnTarpon Springs 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.
Tarpon Springs is known as "the sponge capital of the world". In the 1930s, the sponge industry of Tarpon Springs was very prosperous, bringing in millions of dollars of sponges yearly. But in the 1940s, the sponge beds were contaminated and destroyed by bacteria, which led to a decline in the sponge indurstry. The industry was revived in the 1980s when healthy sponge beds were found. Now Tarpon Springs is back to being a leader in the world's natural sponge market.