USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

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  • Tags: sponge docks

During the filming of Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), the sponge boat Eleni was painted to look as though it had been burned by the rival Key West Conch sponge fishermen. After the filming ended, the boat was restored to its original condition.…

Actor Lloyd Bridges poses with townspeople at the Sponge Docks during the filming of 16 Fathoms Deep (1948) in Tarpon Springs. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, both this film and Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953) created a romantic aura around…

A Greek school group dressed for a Greek cultural celebration poses on the Sponge Docks during the 1940s. The two sponge divers to the left behind them are Emmanuel Mehas and John Maillis. The front row is unidentified Greek school teacher,…

In 1924 the Billiris family created one of the early sponge industry attractions. St. Nicholas Boat Line Sponge Diving Exhibition still functions as a cruise from the Sponge Docks up the Anclote River that incorporates an exhibition of hard-hat…

A Greek saleswoman explains the properties of a vase sponge inside a tourist store near the Sponge Docks, 1936. Shops very similar to this one remain today, together with specialized and general tourist shops.

A merchant surveys the street from the doorway of his tourist shop stocked with shells and sponges in 1936. In decades past, tourist shops near the Sponge Docks marketed items such as sponges, shells, curios, and Greek vases.

Children dressed in Greek dance costumes pose with Father Kalariotes, Father Athas, Bishop Aimilianos Laloussis, Florida Secretary of State Richard Stone, and Mayor George C. Tsourakis in front of the Florida Historical Marker dedicated to the Tarpon…

Buyers examine sponge lots during a large sale at the Sponge Exchange on June 19, 1978. Unlike sponge sales in Greece, sales at the Sponge Exchange were generally conducted through silent auctions. Each potential buyer submitted his bid on a piece of…

Sponge brokers examine the piles of sponges for sale in the Sponge Exchange courtyard on November 6, 1936. Many of the men are taking notes in preparation for the silent auction.

The elevated view reveals the sponge fleet at the Sponge Docks and the Sponge Exchange and view of bridge and surrounding area in 1932. Note the boat yard to the right of the Docks, where boats were built, repaired, and their hulls cleaned.

Hook and dive boats can be seen outside the Sponge Exchange at the Sponge Docks in 1930. In addition to being the primary locus of buy and selling sponges, the Sponge Exchange functioned as a community gathering place for special occasions. For many…

Usually out with the sponge fleet, this boat remained at the Sponge Docks and was put up for sale in the early 1970s due to a death in the family. A memorial wreath for deceased graces the sponge boat.

The men gathered in front of the Sponge Docks with strings of large harvested sponges reflect a variety of levels within the sponge industry. No doubt those wearing everyday work apparel are sponge boat crews, while those with white shirts and ties…

On October 2, 1970, the crew of the sponge boat Eleni hauls strings of sponges off the boat to store in the Sponge Exchange until they are auctioned later in the day.

Sponge boats are moored and crowds walk along the Sponge in 1947. Signs in the background announce a café and an explanation of ceremonies—so perhaps this image was taken during Epiphany.

This 1947 aerial view shows the Anclote River winding to the Gulf, with Anclote Key in the background. It also reveals more limited activity on the Sponge Docks—with fewer boats and cars. In the lower left on Athens Street you can see the…

By 1937, the Sponge Docks are bustling with visitors. Note the many cars parked in front of the sponge fleet, the tourist boat ride at the end of the Sponge Docks, and the large sign announcing the function of the Sponge Exchange to visitors.

This remarkable panoramic view shows a line of sponge boats at the Sponge Docks across from the shops along Dodecanese Boulevard, as well as some boats moored east of the Docks along the banks of the Anclote River in 1932. The new bridge that…

Sponge boats Samarkos Bros, Eleni, Posidon, Anna, Democratia, and Anastases are moored at the Sponge Docks in 1949. Despite the many boats seen here, by the late 1940s the sponge beds had been devastated by a red tide that killed sponges, many…

Sponge boats often do not work during winter months due to the wind from cold fronts. In the winter the fishermen complete tasks for which they did not have time during the busy working season, such as cleaning and repairing boats or equipment. In…

1932. The 1910 census reveals that six Greek ship carpenters resided in Tarpon Springs. The Greeks learned their skills as apprentices to master ship builders. In Tarpon Springs they probably worked full-time in the construction and repair of diving…

In 1921, dozens of Greek boats in the sponge fleet line the wooden docks where men work and an anchor lies. Along with the lone horse-drawn buggy are the Sponge Exchange jitney and cars that are probably owned by the more affluent sponge merchants.
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