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About Tarpon Springs
Tarpon Springs boasts 51 miles of waterfront property, making it an attractive destination for visitors and residents alike. Though the city is named for the fish that's so abundant in its waters, it's also known as the "Sponge Capital of the World" for another well-known aquatic resident. Downtown Tarpon Springs dates back to the late 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Attractions like the 1883 Safford House Museum and Historic Antique District at Craig Park offer glimpses of Tarpon Springs from centuries past.
The History of Tarpon Springs
The first settlers in Tarpon Springs were a mix of farmers and fisherman, who named the city after large groups of tarpon fish they saw leaping out of the bayous in the area. Hamilton Disston purchased the land in 1881 and worked to put together a plan for a new city. By 1887, Tarpon Springs was the county's first incorporated city. When the Orange Belt Railway arrived in the city in 1888, it quickly evolved into a popular winter destination for elite northerners.
Tarpon Springs got its start in the sponge industry in the 1880s, when John K. Cheyney decided to found the area's first official sponge business. Many people moved to the area from the Bahamas and Key West, finding jobs in the hooking and processing of sponges. In 1905, John Corcoris popularized the Greek sponge-diving technique. He recruited a group of Greek divers and crew members, who used their traditional methods to teach the Tarpon Springs locals a new way to grow their local industry. In the next few decades, the sponge industry became a multi-million-dollar business, until an algae epidemic destroyed much of the sponge fields. Shrimping grew in popularity until the sponges were able to recover.
Today there is still a small active sponge industry. Visitors can often view sponge fishermen working at the Sponge Docks on Dodecanese Boulevard. In addition, you can visit shops, restaurants and museum exhibits that detail Tarpon Springs' Greek heritage.
Living in Tarpon Springs
Living in Tarpon Springs you'll have all the amenities of a popular vacation destination to choose from, including championship golf courses, dolphin cruises and the Tarpon Springs aquarium.
Tarpon Springs is a relatively quiet part of Florida. Though you'll enjoy convenient access to many coastal amenities, the town has a small number of families and few college students. The city is home to a diverse population of people in a mix of blue and white-collar occupations, with a large number of senior citizens.
The city is known for its rich Greek culture and hosts several traditional Greek religious ceremonies and cultural celebrations. The Greektown Historic District is one of the top tourist destinations in Tarpon Springs. There, you can dine at a number of traditional Greek restaurants and shop at several small shops selling Greek imports.
Tarpon Springs Schools
Pinellas County Schools manages the public schools of Tarpon Springs, which range from fundamental academies to public charter schools. Tarpon Springs High School is unique in its four by four scheduling blocks that allow students to choose from specialized electives that include the Veterinary Science Academy, Culinary Arts Academy and Music Leadership Conservatory.
Resources for Moving to Tarpon Springs
Here are a few helpful resources for planning your move to Tarpon Springs:
- Utilities: The primary utilities provider is the city of Tarpon Springs. Energy providers in the general area include Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
- Garbage and Recycling: Trash is collected curbside twice per week. Recyclables and yard waste are picked up once a week.
- Transportation: The area is served by the PSTA, which includes a large network of bus and trolley routes.
Tarpon Springs Housing
Tarpon Springs is slightly more expensive than its neighboring cities when it comes to housing, but fairly in line with the Florida average. A large percentage of housing options are single-family homes, but there are some rental properties to choose from as well.