Q:

What are the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs?

A:

Quick Answer

The Sponge Docks is a historic shopping district in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Between 1905 and 1947, divers trawled local waters for undersea sponges. After the decline of the sponge industry, the area became a shopping, dining and tourist destination.

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Full Answer

Historically, Tarpon Springs had a large Greek population. Many of the town's streets, such as Athens Street and Athenian Way, bear Greek names. Trained Greek sponge divers contributed to the success of the sponge industry until a red tide algae bloom wiped out nearby sponge fields in 1947. Greek restaurants and gift shops with Greek themes took over the old Sponge Docks. Some shops still sell sponges, though demand for sponges is much lower, and most of the sponges are imported, not harvested locally.

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