... a bit of our History

Tarpon Springs is a town full of surprises, called the Venice of the South for its sparkling bayous and waterways, historically a resort area and artistic community and perhaps one of Americas best kept travel secrets. Visiting the Greek quarter is tantamount to being in the Greek islands –complete with winding old world streets, folk festivals, religious ritual and pageantry, tantalizing sights and aromas, a fishing and sponge industry, an interesting artistic community, and many more treasures waiting to be uncovered by the interested traveler. One of the main focal pints for all of this bustling activity is The Sponge Exchange, a perfect stepping-off point for a visit to this extraordinary community.

The Sponge Exchange provided the first organized clearinghouse for the sponge industry, founded by settlers from the Greek Islands of the Aegean in 1907. They brought their culture and their industry with them – their food, religion, their music, their shipbuilding plans and diving equipment and above all their undying zest for life. Eventually the Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange was to become the hub for the largest Sponge Industry in the country. It is located in the heart of the Greek Community on Dodecanese Boulevard – just 2 1\2 blocks west of the world famous Pappas restaurant.

It was the enterprising Pappas family along with the Greek community who most recently restored the Sponge Exchange, transforming it into a scintillating Mediterranean jewel, reminiscent of the pristine towns of the Greek Aegean.

There you will find the Sponge Exchange Museum displaying interesting artifacts that tell the intriguing history of the Sponge industry and its people. Surrounding the sparkling fountain where Neptune grants wishes for pennies, unique shops feature goods from the far corners of the world including delectable homemade pastries, home decor items hand made and hand painted from the Andes of Peru, refreshing drinks, ice cream and yogurt, elegant and beautiful clothing for men, women and children, jewelry from couture to mod, gems and crystalline quartz handmade crafts, unusual gifts, handcrafted candles, and fine fragrances and cosmetics.