14 Aug · Admin · No Comments

Historic Sites in Tarpon Springs

As you explore the Tarpon Springs area, keep in mind that our town has some unique, historic places that tell the story of this area and provide interesting activities for visitors and residents.


We’ll highlight a few in this blog post, but you can check out a complete list on the National Register of Historic Places for all
of Pinellas County here:  http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/fl/pinellas/state.html and here:


1. Tarpon Springs Historic District


First is the Tarpon Springs Historic District, bounded by Read Street, Hibiscus Street, Orange Street, Levis Avenue, Lemon Street and Spring Bayou.
It was added in 1990 and contains 145 historic buildings including specific sites like the Safford House, Arcade Hotel, and Old City Hall.


Tarpon Springs Historic District


The historic significance of the district focuses on Events, Architecture, Engineering and the periods of significance include: 1925-1949, 1900-1924, 1875-1899.


When you visit the Tarpon Springs Historic District, you can walk on the brick streets, and stop in antique stores, art galleries, and restaurants in buildings that date from the late 1800s. Tarpon Springs was Florida’s first recognized Traditional Cultural Property.


Included in the Historic District is the Safford House, which was added in 1974, with a historic significance of Architecture and Engineering, during the period of 1875-1899.


Safford House: 


The Safford House is now owned and operated by the city of Tarpon Springs. It serves as a museum to Victorian splendor of the time period and has been restored and opened to the public. Visit the website to learn more: http://tarponarts.org/event-location/safford-house-museum/ 


Tarpon Springs City Hall


Tarpon Springs Culture Center


The (old) Tarpon Springs City Hall was added in 1990, with historic significance including Architecture, Engineering, and Events, for the periods of 1925-1949, 1900-1924.


2. The Sponge Exchange


The next big site is the Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange which was added to the Registry in 1984. The historic significance is focused on Events (European, Commerce, Industry) with a period of 1900-1924.


In 1908 the Sponge Exchange was founded as an organized system for grading and buying the sponges. It was established by sponge divers, boat builders, and others involved in the industry.


Boats at the Sponge Docks Tarpon Springs

Today the Sponge Exchange is a popular shopping village, with over 30 shops and eateries. Learn more about the Sponging industry, see sponge-diving boats used today, and purchase these world-famous sponges at 735 Dodecanese Blvd.


Visit the website for more information (including a link to a short walking-tour video): http://thespongeexchange.com/


3. Anclote Key Lighthouse


Another historic site is the Anclote Key Lighthouse, located on the southern end of Anclote Key Island. Its area of significance focuses on Transportation, Maritime History, and Engineering; during the periods of 1925-1949, 1900-1924, 1875-1899.


Anclote Light House in Tarpon Springs

Visit the Florida State Parks site to learn more: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/anclote-key


You’ll also find several packing houses and sponge boats listed in the National Registry, which provide further significance of the Sponge Industry to this part of the country.


More resources on Tarpon Springs history include:


The Heritage Museum

Located in Craig Park, this building shares more of Tarpon Springs’ history. Visit the website to learn more and see hours of operation;  http://tarponarts.org/event-location/heritage-museum/

The Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society, Inc.

The archives of the Historical Society are located in the Train Depot Museum at 160 E. Tarpon Avenue. Learn more on their website: http://tarponspringsareahistoricalsociety.org/ and Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Tarpon-Springs-Area-Historical-Society-Inc-95327242343/


We hope you found this information helpful as you learn more about Tarpon Springs and visit some of these unique historic sites. Keep up with local events and activities on our Facebook Page.

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