City of Tarpon Springs
Copyright © 2019 City of Tarpon Springs. Accessibility Site Map
Train Depot Circa 1909

Proposed Historic Markers & Building Plaques

Below is the proposed text for historical markers and building plaques to be installed throughout the City and historic

district. Please direct any comments, questions or concerns via email to planning@ctsfl.us

NO LATER THAN APRIL 24, 2020!

Suggested Text for Historical Markers

Tarpon Springs City Hall - Characters with spaces: 832 Construction began on the City’s first dedicated high school in October 1925. With an initial budget of $123,000, excluding land, building plans included a two-story brick structure with stone-trim, deemed virtually fireproof. The doors opened a year later for 260 students in grades 7-12. In 1962, the upper grades moved into a new high school on Gulf Road leaving this building for a dedicated Junior High. Grades 7-9 remained here until the Middle School was built on North Florida Avenue, opening for the 1981/1982 school year. In 1983 the City purchased the building from the School Board, setting into motion plans to restore the building to house City offices and a performing arts venue on the former high school stage and auditorium. The freshly renovated City Hall was dedicated in the spring of 1987. Spring Bayou - Characters with spaces: 1,203 Early pioneer Mary Ormond Boyer named Tarpon Springs for the leaping silver tarpon in the bayou near her cabin. Under the surface of the bayou, a spring “boiled” for several days intermittently throughout the year. The phenomena occurred when Lake Tarpon (then Lake Butler) a mile and a half distant, reached a certain level, causing an outflow through an underground connection to Spring Bayou. The outflow also allowed salt water to travel back to Lake Tarpon killing freshwater fish. In 1969 an earthen berm was constructed around the Lake Tarpon spring sealing its connection to Spring Bayou. At the turn of the 20th century, Spring Bayou was the focal point of the “Golden Crescent” of Victorian homes built surrounding its banks. An early city dock was built for shallow-draft steamboats and boathouses lined the bayou. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church held its first Epiphany celebration in 1906 commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. St. Nicholas’s annual Epiphany ceremony draws tens of thousands of visitors to Tarpon Springs each January 6. Not only is Spring Bayou known for Epiphany, but as the winter home to numerous manatees seeking the temperate waters of the bayou. Craig Park - Characters with spaces: 1,051 Craig Park was named Coburn Park in 1935 for Thomas Coburn who sold the property to the City for $20,250, by referendum, that same year. A newly formed City Park and Playground Commission, appointed by the City’s Board of Commissioners, aided in plans for the approximate seven-acre jewel of a site. The following year, shuffleboard courts, a tennis court, and other improvements were constructed primarily by WPA workers. The Works Progress Administration was created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of the New Deal Plan to help the country recover from the Great Depression. In 1979 the park was renamed Craig Park to honor two former mayors: James Newman Craig and Thomas Craig. Just as Spring Bayou was the focal point for Victorian Tarpon Springs, Craig Park expands the tradition. Begun in 1974, the annual Fine Art Festival in Craig Park is one of the top-rated art shows in the nation, drawing upwards of 300 applicants. From Greek glendi festivals to 4th of July picnics, Craig Park is the City’s central gathering spot. Cultural Center (1,159 characters including spaces) The Cultural Center was built in 1915 to be the first City Hall of a rapidly growing Tarpon Springs, designed by noted Atlanta architect Ernest Daniel Ivey and constructed by J. B. McCreary. Its Neoclassical style evokes the ancient heritage of the Greek community populating the city. The main façade features a central gabled portico supported by four Corinthian columns topped by a simple entablature and pediment. City Hall initially housed all city administrative offices, the public library, the fire department on the south end, and the police department on the north end. City Council meetings were held on the second floor as well as a court ruled by a city judge. Growth of the city necessitated a one-story addition to the north end of the structure in 1947 with great care taken to maintain continuity with the style and materials of the original building. The building was restored and repurposed as a cultural center in 1989 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The Old Tarpon Springs City Hall stands as a symbol of the American municipal system and continues to be a focal point of the community for over 100 years. Union Academy (1,111 characters including spaces) The Union Academy Elementary School was constructed in 1919 for Tarpon Springs’ African American schoolchildren through the eighth grade. The city’s prior African American school had such high enrollment rates that the Pinellas Board of Public Instruction provided the building materials to construct a four-room brick structure built by C. A. Gause at a cost of $1,468. Union Academy was not only a center for education, but was also the focal point of social activity and civic pride for the African American community. Despite laws requiring segregation, principals at Union Academy regularly invited “the white friends of the school” to special events such as musical programs and awards ceremonies. By 1939, the school expanded with a two-room wood frame building, and in 1942 two wooden portable classrooms (originally World War I surplus) were relocated to the campus, one of which is now preserved at Largo's Heritage Village. The Union Academy school closed in 1969 with desegregation. The Citizens Alliance for Progress, Inc. (CAP) restored the facility, reopening in 1987 as the Union Academy Cultural Center. Greektown Traditional Cultural Property Designation (1,234 characters including spaces) Tarpon Springs’ Greektown was designated as a Historic District and a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 on the basis of its unique ethnic heritage and maritime character. The district has been home to a Greek community since 1905, when Greeks immigrated in large numbers to work in the sponge industry. Today, its ongoing Greek identity is reflected in the area's occupations, language, foodways, buildings, religious practices, music and dance. The district includes a wide variety of vernacular buildings, such as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, St. Michael’s Shrine, the Sponge Exchange and Sponge Docks, business and extensive residential areas, as well as many commercial industrial sponge packing warehouses that proliferated at the height of sponging activity in the early 20th century. In addition, Greek boatbuilders built more than 200 achtarmas style sponge boats common in the Dodecanese Islands, though only three survive today. Measuring about 140 acres, Greektown is bounded by the Anclote River on the north, Tarpon Avenue and Spring Bayou on the south, Hibiscus Street and Pinellas Avenue on the east, and Roosevelt and Grand Boulevards to Spring Bayou on the west. Old City Jail, 325 East Lemon Street – 538 characters with spaces This historic brick building was constructed circa 1916. Prisoners were segregated by race, with whites kept on the right side and African Americans on the left. In addition to housing human prisoners inside, the building also included a pen outside for corralling stray animals. When a new police and fire station was constructed on this site in 1963, the jail was remodeled and incorporated into the new building. The Silverking Brewery purchased the building in 2018. The current public safety facility on Huey Avenue opened in 2001. Water Works Building, 102 South Grosse Avenue - 342 characters with spaces This historic brick building, constructed in 1916, has an engraved lintel over the doorway. The freshwater wells connected to this facility were once used to fill early fire tankers. In 2009-2010, the city restored the building and in 2012 it was recognized as a Water Landmark by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association. Sunset Beach, Western Terminus of Gulf Road – 615 characters with spaces Built at a total cost of $65,000 and completed in November 1926, this city beach is a man-made causeway that included a special events building. Colonel Henry McKie Salley, an engineering officer for the United States Army, supervised the dredging and construction that created the causeway and beach. The Tarpon Springs Leader reported that the American Legion’s Armistice Day festivities that month drew a crowd of 2,500 persons to the site. Later known as the “Pleasure Pier” the beach and building were the site of many local dances, receptions and weddings until the pine building burned down in October 1963. Anclote Key Lighthouse, three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, 886 characters with spaces The lighthouse at the southern end of Anclote Key, now part of a four-island state preserve, served as a beacon to ships for many years. President Grover Cleveland declared the island a lighthouse reservation in 1886, and it began operation on September 15, 1887. It was constructed of a cast-iron skeletal design. Nearby frame homes were built for a keeper and assistant keeper. Keepers maintained and manned the lighthouse until 1942, when the Coast Guard took control during WWII. The light was automated in 1952 and decommissioned in 1984. Vandalized and in a state of disrepair after the decommissioning, the lighthouse was restored in 2003 with citizen support along with state and federal funding and is now maintained as a historic structure. A park ranger resides on the island, which has always been a popular picnic site for visitors who arrive by private boat or charter. The Safford House –1,009 characters with spaces The Safford House is one of the oldest homes in Tarpon Springs. It was built in 1883 at the corner of N. Spring Blvd. and Grand Blvd. by Anson P.K. Safford, former Arizona governor . Safford became a prominent figure in Tarpon Springs as a land developer. The house was originally a one-story “dog trot” style, built with pine from a local sawmill. Safford later added a second-story, wraparound porches, and an observation tower for his young wife, Soledad Bonillas Safford, sister, Dr. Mary Jane Safford, and three children. Dr. Mary Jane Safford was the first female physician to practice in state of Florida. In 1891, Anson Safford and his sister, Dr. Mary Jane Safford, both died of influenza. By 1900, Soledad needed to sell the property and the house was moved from the corner of N. Spring Boulevard and Grand Boulevard to its present location. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 1994, the house was donated to the City of Tarpon Springs. After extensive restorations, the house was opened in 2003 as a museum. Train Depot –1181 characters with spaces Tarpon’s second railroad station, a one-story masonry vernacular building, was built in 1909 and served trains along the Orange Belt Line. It replaced the original wooden one, destroyed by fire in 1908. The Depot served as the transportation and communication hub of the City for many years. By the mid 1970s, passenger rail service to Tarpon Springs had ended, and the Depot’s waiting rooms became the home of the Tarpon Springs Historical Society, which was able to expand into the rear of the building when rail traffic to Tarpon Springs was discontinued in the mid-1980s. In September 2004, restoration of the building began, funded by grants from the United States Department of Transportation and Save America’s Treasures and by contributions from the City of Tarpon Springs, which has owned the building since 1992. The project restored the exterior of the building to its original appearance and transformed the interior into a modern facility where the Historical Society maintains its extensive archival collections, exhibits images and artifacts that tell the story of the community’s history, and offers programs and events that bring Tarpon Springs’ heritage to life.

Suggested Text for Historic District Building Plaques

208 E. Tarpon Avenue Orpheum Theater Built Circa 1910 This one-part masonry commercial building was built sometime between 1909 and 1913. It originally served as Tarpon Springs’ first moving picture theatre but was closed by 1919. In the 1920s the building became the showroom for Boyer Chevrolet, one of the area’s first auto dealerships. The large skylights were added at that time. 216 & 218 E. Tarpon Avenue Boyer Chevrolet Circa 1910 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built between 1909 and 1913. It originally contained a soda fountain, poolroom, and grocery store in its three store rooms. It housed the Tarpon Springs Post Office. Tarpon Springs’ first Chevrolet dealership, owned by Judge D. P. Boyer, was subsequently located there. One can still see signs of the automobile dealership. The four door entrances in two of the storefronts once admitted the cars for sale and for repairs. 167 E. Tarpon Avenue Dry Goods Store and Restaurant Built Circa 1905 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was constructed between 1905 and 1913. It originally housed a dry goods store and a restaurant in its first floor storerooms. The second story was used as office space. The building was the second location of the New York Bargain Store owned by Abe Tarapani. 203 E. Tarpon Avenue Commercial Building Built circa 1908 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by D. A. Alissandratos. It housed his business, United Divers, which provided sponge diving supplies. It later provided space for the Tarpon Leader Newspaper, law offices, a Ford dealership, and a laundry. Subsequent uses included a sponge warehouse, after it was purchased by Nicholas Arfaras. The building was restored in 1985 for its present use as a bank. 106 E. Tarpon Avenue Meres Building Built 1914 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by prominent Florida architect Leo Elliot for Ernest Meres in 1914. Meres was one of Tarpon Springs’ most active sponge traders and later became a successful insurance agent. His building originally housed the Royal Theatre, the Tarpon Springs Post Office, and a Western Union office in its first story rooms. The second story contained the Hotel Meres. The Royal Theatre was a showcase and featured Will Rogers at one time. The parking lot adjacent to the Meres Building was previously the site of the garden and home of Amelia Petzold Meres, Ernest Meres' mother. A floral urn was placed at her garden site by when she died in 1926. The urn, with its inscription “Mother Meres,” surrounded by a small garden, still stands. East Tarpon Avenue Taylor Arcade Built Circa 1910 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building, built between 1909 and 1913, originally housed a cigar shop, pool room, barber shop, and grocery store in its four store rooms. Florida Power had offices in the building during the mid-thirties. From 1940 to the mid- sixties, it housed a movie theatre, which later became a dance studio. The building was restored and renovated in 1985 to provide space for retail shops and restaurants. 101 E. Tarpon Avenue McAroy Drug Store Built Circa 1890 The one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built in the late 1890s by George McAroy to house his drug store. In addition to the drug store, the building contained the Tarpon Springs Post Office for several years during the first decade of the twentieth century. In the 1920s, the building became the Sponge Exchange Bank, which closed in the 1930s. The Noblit Insurance Agency, founded in 1938, was located in the building for a number of years. More recently it housed offices and retail shops. 153 E. Tarpon Avenue Gourley Building Built Circa 1905 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by W. H. Gourley about 1905. It originally housed a tailor/pressing shop and a grocery store in its first story shops. The second floor was used for apartments. Later businesses operating out of the building included a dry goods store and a men's wear shop. Gourley opened a hardware business in the building in the 1920s and continued to rent the upstairs apartments. 134 E. Tarpon Avenue Progressive News Building Built Circa 1905 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built circa 1905. It originally housed a grocery store, but was converted into the offices for the Progressive News newspaper in about 1910. It later became the home of a hobby shop called Gibbel's, and a dress shop, each with its own entrance. After World War II, Harry Jukes bought it, divided the building in half, and installed Jukes’ Five and Ten and Burgess Hardware. 111 E. Tarpon Avenue Vinson’s Department Store Built Circa 1890 One of the town’s first general stores, Vinson’s Department store sold furniture, sewing machines, baby buggies, pianos, clothing, shoes, and other assorted merchandise. It was operated by James Vinson and his brother L. D. Vinson. L. D. Vinson later became a certified embalmer and filled the town’s need for funeral services; a business which is still operating today. 139 E. Tarpon Avenue Faklis Department Store & Shoe Repair Since 1912 This one-story masonry vernacular commercial building is the home of one of Tarpon Springs’ oldest businesses, Faklis Department Store and Shoe Repair, which began in 1912 as a shoe repair store. Vasile Faklis, who started the business, came to Tarpon Springs from Symi, one of the Dodecanese Islands, in 1911. The shoe repair business gradually grew to include shoe sales and finally, family clothing. Its location changed several times, but always remained downtown and has been at this location since 1944, owned and operated by George and Michael Faklis. 121 E. Tarpon Avenue Fernald Building Built Circa 1894 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was constructed by New Orleans native Willis Castaing for G. W. Fernald, a wealthy merchant, in 1894. It is the oldest surviving commercial building in Tarpon Springs. In 1894, the downtown was nearly wiped out by a fire. Fernald’s original wooden store was destroyed and he immediately built the present brick building. The structure housed a ground floor general store that stocked hay, cattle and horse feed, farm supplies household goods, and groceries. The upper floor was called Fernald’s Hall, a community meeting hall. The building has been put to many uses over the years. The city's telephone company was once upstairs, and the downstairs once housed a grocery store, restaurant and meat market, 128 E. Tarpon Avenue Abe Tarapani Building Built Circa 1913 This originally red brick commercial building was built by Tarpon Springs baker Orion Cadwallader, circa 1913. In its early years, the front half (called Fassol's, after its owner) served as a drug store with a soda fountain and ice cream parlor, and served coffee as well. The back half, or south end, was a dance hall called The Japanese Garden. The entire building later became Hoover’s, a grocery store and meat market. The south end, with its still evident high steps, was used to load and unload feed. 200 E. Tarpon Avenue Saloon Building Built Circa 1906 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built in 1905. It originally contained two grocery stores, a saloon, a meat market, and a barber shop in its five store rooms. Later, as the sponge industry grew, it became a gathering place for sponge fishermen. Its shops were geared for recreation. They included several saloons, a coffee shop, a pool room, and a cigar store. In 1953, the building (then called Leousis Saloon) was used for the fight scene in the movie Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef, filmed on location in Tarpon Springs and starring Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland, J. Carrol Naish, Richard Boone, and Peter Graves. The original back bar, depicted in the movie, still remains in what is now a restaurant. 160 E. Tarpon Avenue Train Depot Built Circa 1909 The Atlantic Coast Railroad Depot was built in 1909 to replace the original wooden depot that burned in 1908. The Western telegraph office was housed in the front room and a large warehouse was in the back, holding shipped items such as seafood, sponges and livestock. The passenger service was discontinued in 1971. The depot has been the home of the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society museum since March 1977. In 1987, a last train ride took place between Tarpon Springs and Dunedin in celebration of Tarpon Springs Centennial. In 2004, restoration of the train depot was provided by grants from the Department of Transportation, Save America’s Treasures and funds from the City of Tarpon Springs. 17 North Safford Avenue Railway Express Built Between 1913 & 1919 The Railway Express Company Building, a one-part masonry vernacular commercial structure, was built sometime between 1913 and 1919. It originally housed the offices of the Railway Express Company. At some point between 1919 and 1926, Railway Express built a new building on the property just north of the site and a laundry was subsequently established. Between 1985 and 1986, the building was restored. 21 North Safford Avenue Railway Express II Built Between 1919 & 1926 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built sometime between 1919 and 1926 as the new location of the Railway Express Company.
City of Tarpon Springs
Copyright © 2019 City of Tarpon Springs. Accessibility

Proposed Historic

Markers & Building

Plaques

Below is the proposed text for

historical markers and building plaques

to be installed throughout the City and

historic district. Please direct any

comments, questions or concerns via

email to planning@ctsfl.us

NO LATER THAN APRIL 24, 2020!

Suggested Text for Historical Markers

Tarpon Springs City Hall - Characters with spaces: 832 Construction began on the City’s first dedicated high school in October 1925. With an initial budget of $123,000, excluding land, building plans included a two-story brick structure with stone-trim, deemed virtually fireproof. The doors opened a year later for 260 students in grades 7-12. In 1962, the upper grades moved into a new high school on Gulf Road leaving this building for a dedicated Junior High. Grades 7-9 remained here until the Middle School was built on North Florida Avenue, opening for the 1981/1982 school year. In 1983 the City purchased the building from the School Board, setting into motion plans to restore the building to house City offices and a performing arts venue on the former high school stage and auditorium. The freshly renovated City Hall was dedicated in the spring of 1987. Spring Bayou - Characters with spaces: 1,203 Early pioneer Mary Ormond Boyer named Tarpon Springs for the leaping silver tarpon in the bayou near her cabin. Under the surface of the bayou, a spring “boiled” for several days intermittently throughout the year. The phenomena occurred when Lake Tarpon (then Lake Butler) a mile and a half distant, reached a certain level, causing an outflow through an underground connection to Spring Bayou. The outflow also allowed salt water to travel back to Lake Tarpon killing freshwater fish. In 1969 an earthen berm was constructed around the Lake Tarpon spring sealing its connection to Spring Bayou. At the turn of the 20th century, Spring Bayou was the focal point of the “Golden Crescent” of Victorian homes built surrounding its banks. An early city dock was built for shallow-draft steamboats and boathouses lined the bayou. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church held its first Epiphany celebration in 1906 commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. St. Nicholas’s annual Epiphany ceremony draws tens of thousands of visitors to Tarpon Springs each January 6. Not only is Spring Bayou known for Epiphany, but as the winter home to numerous manatees seeking the temperate waters of the bayou. Craig Park - Characters with spaces: 1,051 Craig Park was named Coburn Park in 1935 for Thomas Coburn who sold the property to the City for $20,250, by referendum, that same year. A newly formed City Park and Playground Commission, appointed by the City’s Board of Commissioners, aided in plans for the approximate seven-acre jewel of a site. The following year, shuffleboard courts, a tennis court, and other improvements were constructed primarily by WPA workers. The Works Progress Administration was created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of the New Deal Plan to help the country recover from the Great Depression. In 1979 the park was renamed Craig Park to honor two former mayors: James Newman Craig and Thomas Craig. Just as Spring Bayou was the focal point for Victorian Tarpon Springs, Craig Park expands the tradition. Begun in 1974, the annual Fine Art Festival in Craig Park is one of the top-rated art shows in the nation, drawing upwards of 300 applicants. From Greek glendi festivals to 4th of July picnics, Craig Park is the City’s central gathering spot. Cultural Center (1,159 characters including spaces) The Cultural Center was built in 1915 to be the first City Hall of a rapidly growing Tarpon Springs, designed by noted Atlanta architect Ernest Daniel Ivey and constructed by J. B. McCreary. Its Neoclassical style evokes the ancient heritage of the Greek community populating the city. The main façade features a central gabled portico supported by four Corinthian columns topped by a simple entablature and pediment. City Hall initially housed all city administrative offices, the public library, the fire department on the south end, and the police department on the north end. City Council meetings were held on the second floor as well as a court ruled by a city judge. Growth of the city necessitated a one-story addition to the north end of the structure in 1947 with great care taken to maintain continuity with the style and materials of the original building. The building was restored and repurposed as a cultural center in 1989 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The Old Tarpon Springs City Hall stands as a symbol of the American municipal system and continues to be a focal point of the community for over 100 years. Union Academy (1,111 characters including spaces) The Union Academy Elementary School was constructed in 1919 for Tarpon Springs’ African American schoolchildren through the eighth grade. The city’s prior African American school had such high enrollment rates that the Pinellas Board of Public Instruction provided the building materials to construct a four-room brick structure built by C. A. Gause at a cost of $1,468. Union Academy was not only a center for education, but was also the focal point of social activity and civic pride for the African American community. Despite laws requiring segregation, principals at Union Academy regularly invited “the white friends of the school” to special events such as musical programs and awards ceremonies. By 1939, the school expanded with a two-room wood frame building, and in 1942 two wooden portable classrooms (originally World War I surplus) were relocated to the campus, one of which is now preserved at Largo's Heritage Village. The Union Academy school closed in 1969 with desegregation. The Citizens Alliance for Progress, Inc. (CAP) restored the facility, reopening in 1987 as the Union Academy Cultural Center. Greektown Traditional Cultural Property Designation (1,234 characters including spaces) Tarpon Springs’ Greektown was designated as a Historic District and a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 on the basis of its unique ethnic heritage and maritime character. The district has been home to a Greek community since 1905, when Greeks immigrated in large numbers to work in the sponge industry. Today, its ongoing Greek identity is reflected in the area's occupations, language, foodways, buildings, religious practices, music and dance. The district includes a wide variety of vernacular buildings, such as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, St. Michael’s Shrine, the Sponge Exchange and Sponge Docks, business and extensive residential areas, as well as many commercial industrial sponge packing warehouses that proliferated at the height of sponging activity in the early 20th century. In addition, Greek boatbuilders built more than 200 achtarmas style sponge boats common in the Dodecanese Islands, though only three survive today. Measuring about 140 acres, Greektown is bounded by the Anclote River on the north, Tarpon Avenue and Spring Bayou on the south, Hibiscus Street and Pinellas Avenue on the east, and Roosevelt and Grand Boulevards to Spring Bayou on the west. Old City Jail, 325 East Lemon Street – 538 characters with spaces This historic brick building was constructed circa 1916. Prisoners were segregated by race, with whites kept on the right side and African Americans on the left. In addition to housing human prisoners inside, the building also included a pen outside for corralling stray animals. When a new police and fire station was constructed on this site in 1963, the jail was remodeled and incorporated into the new building. The Silverking Brewery purchased the building in 2018. The current public safety facility on Huey Avenue opened in 2001. Water Works Building, 102 South Grosse Avenue - 342 characters with spaces This historic brick building, constructed in 1916, has an engraved lintel over the doorway. The freshwater wells connected to this facility were once used to fill early fire tankers. In 2009-2010, the city restored the building and in 2012 it was recognized as a Water Landmark by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association. Sunset Beach, Western Terminus of Gulf Road – 615 characters with spaces Built at a total cost of $65,000 and completed in November 1926, this city beach is a man-made causeway that included a special events building. Colonel Henry McKie Salley, an engineering officer for the United States Army, supervised the dredging and construction that created the causeway and beach. The Tarpon Springs Leader reported that the American Legion’s Armistice Day festivities that month drew a crowd of 2,500 persons to the site. Later known as the “Pleasure Pier” the beach and building were the site of many local dances, receptions and weddings until the pine building burned down in October 1963. Anclote Key Lighthouse, three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, 886 characters with spaces The lighthouse at the southern end of Anclote Key, now part of a four-island state preserve, served as a beacon to ships for many years. President Grover Cleveland declared the island a lighthouse reservation in 1886, and it began operation on September 15, 1887. It was constructed of a cast-iron skeletal design. Nearby frame homes were built for a keeper and assistant keeper. Keepers maintained and manned the lighthouse until 1942, when the Coast Guard took control during WWII. The light was automated in 1952 and decommissioned in 1984. Vandalized and in a state of disrepair after the decommissioning, the lighthouse was restored in 2003 with citizen support along with state and federal funding and is now maintained as a historic structure. A park ranger resides on the island, which has always been a popular picnic site for visitors who arrive by private boat or charter. The Safford House –1,009 characters with spaces The Safford House is one of the oldest homes in Tarpon Springs. It was built in 1883 at the corner of N. Spring Blvd. and Grand Blvd. by Anson P.K. Safford, former Arizona governor . Safford became a prominent figure in Tarpon Springs as a land developer. The house was originally a one-story “dog trot” style, built with pine from a local sawmill. Safford later added a second-story, wraparound porches, and an observation tower for his young wife, Soledad Bonillas Safford, sister, Dr. Mary Jane Safford, and three children. Dr. Mary Jane Safford was the first female physician to practice in state of Florida. In 1891, Anson Safford and his sister, Dr. Mary Jane Safford, both died of influenza. By 1900, Soledad needed to sell the property and the house was moved from the corner of N. Spring Boulevard and Grand Boulevard to its present location. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 1994, the house was donated to the City of Tarpon Springs. After extensive restorations, the house was opened in 2003 as a museum. Train Depot –1181 characters with spaces Tarpon’s second railroad station, a one-story masonry vernacular building, was built in 1909 and served trains along the Orange Belt Line. It replaced the original wooden one, destroyed by fire in 1908. The Depot served as the transportation and communication hub of the City for many years. By the mid 1970s, passenger rail service to Tarpon Springs had ended, and the Depot’s waiting rooms became the home of the Tarpon Springs Historical Society, which was able to expand into the rear of the building when rail traffic to Tarpon Springs was discontinued in the mid-1980s. In September 2004, restoration of the building began, funded by grants from the United States Department of Transportation and Save America’s Treasures and by contributions from the City of Tarpon Springs, which has owned the building since 1992. The project restored the exterior of the building to its original appearance and transformed the interior into a modern facility where the Historical Society maintains its extensive archival collections, exhibits images and artifacts that tell the story of the community’s history, and offers programs and events that bring Tarpon Springs’ heritage to life.

Suggested Text for Historic District

Building Plaques

208 E. Tarpon Avenue Orpheum Theater Built Circa 1910 This one-part masonry commercial building was built sometime between 1909 and 1913. It originally served as Tarpon Springs’ first moving picture theatre but was closed by 1919. In the 1920s the building became the showroom for Boyer Chevrolet, one of the area’s first auto dealerships. The large skylights were added at that time. 216 & 218 E. Tarpon Avenue Boyer Chevrolet Circa 1910 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built between 1909 and 1913. It originally contained a soda fountain, poolroom, and grocery store in its three store rooms. It housed the Tarpon Springs Post Office. Tarpon Springs’ first Chevrolet dealership, owned by Judge D. P. Boyer, was subsequently located there. One can still see signs of the automobile dealership. The four door entrances in two of the storefronts once admitted the cars for sale and for repairs. 167 E. Tarpon Avenue Dry Goods Store and Restaurant Built Circa 1905 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was constructed between 1905 and 1913. It originally housed a dry goods store and a restaurant in its first floor storerooms. The second story was used as office space. The building was the second location of the New York Bargain Store owned by Abe Tarapani. 203 E. Tarpon Avenue Commercial Building Built circa 1908 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by D. A. Alissandratos. It housed his business, United Divers, which provided sponge diving supplies. It later provided space for the Tarpon Leader Newspaper, law offices, a Ford dealership, and a laundry. Subsequent uses included a sponge warehouse, after it was purchased by Nicholas Arfaras. The building was restored in 1985 for its present use as a bank. 106 E. Tarpon Avenue Meres Building Built 1914 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by prominent Florida architect Leo Elliot for Ernest Meres in 1914. Meres was one of Tarpon Springs’ most active sponge traders and later became a successful insurance agent. His building originally housed the Royal Theatre, the Tarpon Springs Post Office, and a Western Union office in its first story rooms. The second story contained the Hotel Meres. The Royal Theatre was a showcase and featured Will Rogers at one time. The parking lot adjacent to the Meres Building was previously the site of the garden and home of Amelia Petzold Meres, Ernest Meres' mother. A floral urn was placed at her garden site by when she died in 1926. The urn, with its inscription “Mother Meres,” surrounded by a small garden, still stands. East Tarpon Avenue Taylor Arcade Built Circa 1910 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building, built between 1909 and 1913, originally housed a cigar shop, pool room, barber shop, and grocery store in its four store rooms. Florida Power had offices in the building during the mid-thirties. From 1940 to the mid-sixties, it housed a movie theatre, which later became a dance studio. The building was restored and renovated in 1985 to provide space for retail shops and restaurants. 101 E. Tarpon Avenue McAroy Drug Store Built Circa 1890 The one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built in the late 1890s by George McAroy to house his drug store. In addition to the drug store, the building contained the Tarpon Springs Post Office for several years during the first decade of the twentieth century. In the 1920s, the building became the Sponge Exchange Bank, which closed in the 1930s. The Noblit Insurance Agency, founded in 1938, was located in the building for a number of years. More recently it housed offices and retail shops. 153 E. Tarpon Avenue Gourley Building Built Circa 1905 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built by W. H. Gourley about 1905. It originally housed a tailor/pressing shop and a grocery store in its first story shops. The second floor was used for apartments. Later businesses operating out of the building included a dry goods store and a men's wear shop. Gourley opened a hardware business in the building in the 1920s and continued to rent the upstairs apartments. 134 E. Tarpon Avenue Progressive News Building Built Circa 1905 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built circa 1905. It originally housed a grocery store, but was converted into the offices for the Progressive News newspaper in about 1910. It later became the home of a hobby shop called Gibbel's, and a dress shop, each with its own entrance. After World War II, Harry Jukes bought it, divided the building in half, and installed Jukes’ Five and Ten and Burgess Hardware. 111 E. Tarpon Avenue Vinson’s Department Store Built Circa 1890 One of the town’s first general stores, Vinson’s Department store sold furniture, sewing machines, baby buggies, pianos, clothing, shoes, and other assorted merchandise. It was operated by James Vinson and his brother L. D. Vinson. L. D. Vinson later became a certified embalmer and filled the town’s need for funeral services; a business which is still operating today. 139 E. Tarpon Avenue Faklis Department Store & Shoe Repair Since 1912 This one-story masonry vernacular commercial building is the home of one of Tarpon Springs’ oldest businesses, Faklis Department Store and Shoe Repair, which began in 1912 as a shoe repair store. Vasile Faklis, who started the business, came to Tarpon Springs from Symi, one of the Dodecanese Islands, in 1911. The shoe repair business gradually grew to include shoe sales and finally, family clothing. Its location changed several times, but always remained downtown and has been at this location since 1944, owned and operated by George and Michael Faklis. 121 E. Tarpon Avenue Fernald Building Built Circa 1894 This two-part masonry vernacular commercial building was constructed by New Orleans native Willis Castaing for G. W. Fernald, a wealthy merchant, in 1894. It is the oldest surviving commercial building in Tarpon Springs. In 1894, the downtown was nearly wiped out by a fire. Fernald’s original wooden store was destroyed and he immediately built the present brick building. The structure housed a ground floor general store that stocked hay, cattle and horse feed, farm supplies household goods, and groceries. The upper floor was called Fernald’s Hall, a community meeting hall. The building has been put to many uses over the years. The city's telephone company was once upstairs, and the downstairs once housed a grocery store, restaurant and meat market, 128 E. Tarpon Avenue Abe Tarapani Building Built Circa 1913 This originally red brick commercial building was built by Tarpon Springs baker Orion Cadwallader, circa 1913. In its early years, the front half (called Fassol's, after its owner) served as a drug store with a soda fountain and ice cream parlor, and served coffee as well. The back half, or south end, was a dance hall called The Japanese Garden. The entire building later became Hoover’s, a grocery store and meat market. The south end, with its still evident high steps, was used to load and unload feed. 200 E. Tarpon Avenue Saloon Building Built Circa 1906 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built in 1905. It originally contained two grocery stores, a saloon, a meat market, and a barber shop in its five store rooms. Later, as the sponge industry grew, it became a gathering place for sponge fishermen. Its shops were geared for recreation. They included several saloons, a coffee shop, a pool room, and a cigar store. In 1953, the building (then called Leousis Saloon) was used for the fight scene in the movie Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef, filmed on location in Tarpon Springs and starring Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland, J. Carrol Naish, Richard Boone, and Peter Graves. The original back bar, depicted in the movie, still remains in what is now a restaurant. 160 E. Tarpon Avenue Train Depot Built Circa 1909 The Atlantic Coast Railroad Depot was built in 1909 to replace the original wooden depot that burned in 1908. The Western telegraph office was housed in the front room and a large warehouse was in the back, holding shipped items such as seafood, sponges and livestock. The passenger service was discontinued in 1971. The depot has been the home of the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society museum since March 1977. In 1987, a last train ride took place between Tarpon Springs and Dunedin in celebration of Tarpon Springs Centennial. In 2004, restoration of the train depot was provided by grants from the Department of Transportation, Save America’s Treasures and funds from the City of Tarpon Springs. 17 North Safford Avenue Railway Express Built Between 1913 & 1919 The Railway Express Company Building, a one-part masonry vernacular commercial structure, was built sometime between 1913 and 1919. It originally housed the offices of the Railway Express Company. At some point between 1919 and 1926, Railway Express built a new building on the property just north of the site and a laundry was subsequently established. Between 1985 and 1986, the building was restored. 21 North Safford Avenue Railway Express II Built Between 1919 & 1926 This one-part masonry vernacular commercial building was built sometime between 1919 and 1926 as the new location of the Railway Express Company.
Train Depot Circa 1909