Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The population was 23,484 at the 2010 census.[4] Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US.[5] Downtown Tarpon Springs has long been a focal point and is currently undergoing beautification. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Tarpon Springs has a total area of 16.9 square miles (44 km2). 9.1 square miles (24 km2) of it is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km2) of it (45.83%) is water.

History of Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Ave Looking West

The Tarpon Springs region, with a series of bayous feeding into the Gulf of Mexico, first attracted attention as a place for winter homes about 1876. Some of the newly arrived visitors spotted tarpons jumping out of the waters and so named the location Tarpon Springs. The first Greek immigrants arrived to this city during the 1880s, when they were hired to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry.

In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs. Cocoris recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, in particular Kalymnos, Symi and Halki leading, by the 1930s, to a very productive sponge industry in Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year. The 1953 film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, depicting sponge diving, takes place and was filmed in Tarpon Springs.[6]

When a red tide algae bloom occurred in 1947, wiping out the sponge fields in that region of the Gulf of Mexico, most of the sponge boats and divers switched to fishing and shrimping for a livelihood. The city of Tarpon Springs then converted most of its sponge-related activities, especially the warehouses where they were sold, into tourist attractions. The Sponge Docks are now mostly shops, restaurants, and museums dedicated to the memory of Tarpon Springs‘ earlier industry. Most sponges sold on the docks are now imports; relatively few sponges are harvested from the area, although attempts have been made in recent years to restart local sponge harvesting. Led by local businessman George Billiris, in the late 1980s the sponge industry made a comeback in Tarpon Springs, and in the fall of 2007 a record harvest of sponges by a single boat was made.

Tarpon Springs Old City Hall

In 2007 and 2008, Tarpon Springs‘ mayor, Beverley Billiris, established Sister City relationships with Kalymnos, Halki, Symi, and Cyprus, honoring the close historical link with these Greek islands.

Tourist Attractions in Tarpon Springs

The shops along Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Docks District of Tarpon Springs are still thriving as both a historic and a current tourist destination. The street winds its way from the bayou towards the Tarpon Springs Aquarium at the far end. Along the way it passes the marina and Sponge Boats docked along the north side of the street and the Historic Sponge Exchange on the south. There are many restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood that dot the street as well as quaint boutiques that sell everything from real sponges to imported goods. The street is narrow and reminiscent of a seaside village in Greece, with delivery trucks parked in the right of way and locals that greet each other in Greek and stop to chat without regard to the traffic.

The nearby beaches at several of the Pinellas County parks are popular for swimming, windsurfing, picnics, boating, and other water sports. People also come to the beaches to watch the beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Sandy barrier islands off shore shift position over time with the waves and storms. They are accessible by boat and are especially ideal for shell spotting and watching bottlenose dolphins at play. One permanent island, Anclote Key, is a State Park Preserve with a historic lighthouse, bird nesting colonies and pristine beaches.

Epiphany Celebration in Tarpon Springs

Fred H Howard Park

Tarpon Springs is known for elaborate religious ceremonies related to the Greek Orthodox Church, such as Epiphany, celebrated every January 6 with the blessing of the waters and the boats. Since the livelihood of the initial Greek immigrants hinged around the sea and their boats, their attachment to a religious service centered on requesting divine protection for what used to be a highly risky job can be easily explained.

The celebration attracts Greek Americans from across the country, and the city’s population is known to triple in size for that day. The Metropolitan of Atlanta usually presides over the blessings, sometimes joined by the Archbishop of America. The blessings conclude with the ceremonial throwing of a wooden cross into the Tarpon City‘s Spring Bayou, and boys ages 16 to 18 dive in to retrieve it: whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed for a full year. Following the blessings, the celebration moves to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks where food and music are made part of the festivities.

On January 6, 2006, the 100th anniversary celebration of the Epiphany services inTarpon Springs was the occasion for a visit by his all-holiness, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who is considered “first among equals” of all hierarchy of the Orthodox Church. He presided over the Epiphany services in one of the few visits to America by an Ecumenical Patriarch.

Demographics Of Tarpon Springs

As of the census[2] of 2000, in Tarpon Springs there were 21,003 people, 9,067 households, and 5,947 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,297.1 per square mile (887.2/km²). There were 10,759 housing units at an average density of 1,176.7 per square mile (454.5/km²). The racial makeup of Tarpon springs was 90.07% White, 6.15% African American, 0.29% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.81% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.33% of the population. 11.8% of the total population reported their ancestry as Greek, which is included in the 90.07% White statistic. 8.87% reported speaking Greek at home, while 3.46% speak Spanish, and 1.09% French [2].

There were 9,067 households in Tarpon Springs out of which 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.2% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average Tarpon Springs household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.

The median income for a household in the Tarpon Springs was $38,251, and the median income for a family was $46,316. Males had a median income of $36,356 versus $25,252 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,504. About 7.7% of families and 9.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

Restaurants in Tarpon Springs

Hellas Restaurant (727) 934-8400 785 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Plaka Restaurant (727) 934-4752 769 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Mr Souvlaki (727) 937-2795 802 N Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Zante Cafe Neo (727) 934-5558 13 N Safford Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Costa’s Restaurant (727) 938-6890 521 Athens St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

The Jerk Center (727) 940-534 3305 S Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Greek Pizza Kitchen (727) 945-7337 619 N Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Tarpon Diner (727) 934-9021 217 S Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Tarpon Turtle (727) 722-9030 1513 Lake Tarpon Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Santorini Seafood & Grill (727) 945-9400 698 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Molly Goodheads Raw Bar (727) 786-6255 400 E Orange St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Mykonos (727) 934-4306 628 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Strongest AM radio stations in Tarpon Springs
  • WFLA 970 AM; 25 kW; TAMPA, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WMGG 820 AM; 50 kW; LARGO, FL; Owner: MEGA COMMUNICATIONS OF ST. PETERSBURG LICENSEE
  • WHNZ 1250 AM; 25 kW; TAMPA, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WLVU 1470 AM; 5 kW; DUNEDIN, FL; Owner: GENESIS COMMUNICATIONS OF TAMPA BAY, INC.
  • WTIS 1110 AM; daytime; 10 kW; TAMPA, FL; Owner: WTIS-AM, INC.
  • WQYK 1010 AM; 50 kW; SEFFNER, FL; Owner: INFINITY BROADCASTING CORPORATION OF TAMPA
  • WDAE 620 AM; 5 kW; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: CLEAR CHANNEL BROADCASTING LICENSES, INC.
  • WTMP 1150 AM; 10 kW; EGYPT LAKE, FL; Owner: TAMPA BROADCASTING, LTD.
  • WWMI 1380 AM; 5 kW; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: ABC, INC.
  • WTBN 570 AM; 5 kW; PINELLAS PARK, FL; Owner: COMMON GROUND BROADCASTING, INC.
  • WWBA 1040 AM; 4 kW; PINELLAS PARK, FL; Owner: GENESIS COMMUNICATIONS OF TAMPA BAY, INC.
  • WFLF 540 AM; 50 kW; PINE HILLS, FL; Owner: CLEAR CHANNEL BROADCASTING LICENSES, INC.

Strongest FM radio stations in Tarpon Springs

  • WBBY (107.3 FM; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: COX RADIO, INC.
  • WXTB 97.9 FM; CLEARWATER, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WRBQ-FM 104.7 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: INFINITY RADIO OPERATIONS INC.
  • WDUV 105.5 FM; NEW PORT RICHEY, FL; Owner: CXR HOLDINGS, INC.
  • WSSR 95.7 FM; CLEARWATER, FL; Owner: CLEAR CHANNEL BROADCASTING LICENSES, INC.
  • WSUN-FM 97.1 FM; HOLIDAY, FL; Owner: COX RADIO, INC
  • WPOI 101.5 FM; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: CXR HOLDINGS, INC.
  • WWRM 94.9 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: COX RADIO, INC.
  • WFLZ-FM 93.3 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WMTX 100.7 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WQYK-FM 99.5 FM; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: INFINITY BROADCASTING CORPORATION OF FLORIDA
  • WTBT 103.5 FM; BRADENTON, FL; Owner: CITICASTERS LICENSES, L.P.
  • WYUU 92.5 FM; SAFETY HARBOR, FL; Owner: INFINITY RADIO OPERATIONS INC.
  • WUSF 89.7 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: UNIVERSITY OF S. FLORIDA
  • WBVM 90.5 FM; TAMPA, FL; Owner: BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE/ST. PETERSBURG)
  • WYFE 88.9 FM; TARPON SPRINGS, FL; Owner: BIBLE BROADCASTING NETWORK, INC.
  • WSJT 94.1 FM; LAKELAND, FL; Owner: INFINITY RADIO OPERATIONS INC.
  • WLLD 98.7 FM; HOLMES BEACH, FL; Owner: INFINITY RADIO OPERATIONS INC.
  • WHPT 102.5 FM; SARASOTA, FL; Owner: CXR HOLDINGS, INC.
  • WLPJ 91.5 FM; NEW PORT RICHEY, FL; Owner: RADIO TRAINING NETWORK

TV broadcast stations around Tarpon Springs

  • W36CO Channel 36; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK
  • W48AY Channel 48; OLDSMAR, FL; Owner: AMKA BROADCAST NETWORK, INC.
  • WTSP Channel 10; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: PACIFIC AND SOUTHERN COMPANY, INC.
  • W33CC Channel 33;ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: VENTANA TELEVISION, INC.
  • WEDU Channel 3; TAMPA, FL; Owner: FLORIDA WEST COAST PUBLIC BROADCASTING, INC
  • WARP-CA Channel 20; TAMPAST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: SUNSHINE BROADCASTING COMPANY, INC.
  • WXAX-LP Channel 26; CLEARWATER, FL; Owner: TIGER EYE BROADCASTING CORP.
  • WFLA-TV Channel 8; TAMPA, FL; Owner: MEDIA GENERAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
  • WFTS-TV Channel 28;TAMPA, FL; Owner: TAMPA BAY TELEVISION, INC.
  • WTOG Channel 44; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: VIACOM INTERNATIONAL INC.
  • WXPX Channel 66; BRADENTON, FL; Owner: PAXSON COMMUNICATION LICENSE COMPANY, LLC
  • WUSF-TV Channel 16; TAMPA, FL; Owner: UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
  • WRMD-LP Channel 57; TAMPA, FL; Owner: ZGS TELEVISION OF TAMPA, INC.
  • W61AI Channel 61; ROCK HARBOR, FL; Owner: MAKO COMMUNICATIONS, LLC
  • WTTA Channel 38; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: BAY TELEVISION, INC.
  • WFTT Channel 50; TAMPA, FL; Owner: TELEFUTURA TAMPA LLC
  • WTVT Channel 13; TAMPA, FL; Owner: TVT LICENSE, INC.
  • WCLF Channel 22; CLEARWATER, FL; Owner: CHRISTIAN TELEVISION CORPORATION, INC.
  • WTAM-LP Channel 6; TAMPA, FL; Owner: U.S. INTERACTIVE, L.L.C.
  • WVEA-LP Channel 61; TAMPA, FL; Owner: ENTRAVISION HOLDINGS, LLC
  • WMOR-LP Channel 63; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: WMOR-TV COMPANY
  • WMOR-TV Channel 32; LAKELAND, FL; Owner: WMOR-TV COMPANY
  • WSPF-CA Channel 35; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; Owner: CITY OF
  • ST. PETERSBURG
  • W56EB Channel 56; TAMPA, FL; Owner: TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK
  • WSVT-LP Channel 18; BRADENTON, FL; Owner: WORD OF GOD FELLOWSHIP, INC.

 

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