Tarpon Springs is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The population was 23,484 at the 2010 census. Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans in any city in the United States. Downtown Tarpon has long been a focal point for tourists, who come to shop, dine, and enjoy the city’s quaint, small-town atmosphere. The city is also home to the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, where the sponge fishing fleet brings in the day’s catch. Visitors can learn about the sponge industry and see the sponge boats. Learn more here.
Tarpon Springs was founded in 1887 by John C. Williams, who was attracted to the area by its natural springs. The springs attracted many tourists, and Williams built a resort around them. He also built a sponge-drying operation, and the city became known as the “Sponge Capital of the World.” The first Greek immigrants arrived in Tarpon Springs in 1905, and Spongeorama, a sponge-processing plant, was built in 1910. The sponge industry thrived in Tarpon Springs until the 1950s when synthetic sponges were developed. The sponge industry declined, but the city’s Greek community grew. Today, Tarpon Springs is a quaint, small town with a bustling downtown area. The city is home to many unique shops and restaurants, as well as the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. The Sponge Docks is a must-see for visitors, who can watch the sponge boats bring in their catch and learn about the city’s unique sponge industry. Learn more about Dunedin, Florida.