TARPON SPRINGS — Pinellas County commissioners Charlie Justice and Dave Eggers joined Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos and different native officers for a plaque dedication ceremony within the metropolis’s downtown district June 1.
The Tarpon Springs Historic District State Marker, which was put in exterior the Mom Meres car parking zone on the intersection of East Tarpon Avenue and Alternate 19, is the newest such set up sponsored by the Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board at an estimated value of just below $2,500.
The gold-on-black, two-sided metallic signal incorporates textual content highlighting the historical past of the town in addition to its downtown district. The district started within the late 1800s and options a number of century-old buildings and companies, resulting in it being listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1990.
“These historic markers are critically essential to our previous but in addition to our future,” mentioned Justice, who chairs the county’s HPB. The 11 a.m. information convention introduced a number of TV information crews to Tarpon Avenue and induced a short rerouting of the busy avenue.
“They inform that story of yesterday, and few communities have the historical past that Tarpon has,” he mentioned. “From the Golden Crescent to the approaching and going of the railways to the Greek heritage to the Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs has a historical past in contrast to another in Pinellas County.”
Justice added the markers “are our invitation, that introduction to the historical past, to inform that story. It may be to a longtime resident who’s coming by. It may be to certainly one of our thousands and thousands of vacationers who come by means of right here. Or it may be to that younger one that’s simply studying about Tarpon Springs, and it’s an invite for them so as to add their chapter to that story.”
Following these remarks, Alahouzos mentioned, “On Feb. 12, 1887, Tarpon Springs was the primary metropolis to be integrated within the peninsula. It was earlier than Pinellas County was created and earlier than Tampa was created, as properly. So now we have loads of historical past in Tarpon Springs.”
Alahouzos then thanked these in attendance, together with present and previous metropolis and county officers, in addition to members of Tarpon’s historic society and Heritage Preservation Board for “retaining the historical past alive and serving to protect the town’s historical past.” The mayor then ceded the rostrum to Dudley Salley, a former metropolis commissioner and metropolis supervisor who can be a member of certainly one of Tarpon’s founding households.
“Tarpon Springs could be very distinctive,” Salley mentioned, noting Florida was a pristine wilderness as late because the 1870s. He defined how rich guests quickly started transferring to the realm to benefit from the sportsman’s paradise, making Tarpon a “rich winter resort.” He mentioned the realm attracted artists, as properly, together with famend panorama painters George Innes Sr. and George Innes Jr. and present residents Christopher Nonetheless and Robert Stackhouse.
Salley defined how his great-grandmother, Amelia Petzold Meres, arrived by coastal steamer riverboat and “staked out a declare right here and constructed a house and a backyard right here” earlier than ultimately donating the land to the town. He added his grandfather, Ernest Meres, helped develop the town’s sponge fishing trade by bringing in Greek sponge divers in addition to co-founding the Sponge Alternate, a preferred Sponge Docks attraction. “So, Tarpon is exclusive and welcoming,” Salley concluded. “This plaque invitations all to share in our nice heritage that continues in our group.”
With that, a gaggle of officers gathered round as Alahouzos and Justice unveiled the marker, which incorporates textual content of Tarpon details and historical past compiled by native historian Tina Bucuvalas and Pinellas Historic Board member Tom Scofield.
Justice later spoke concerning the significance of Tarpon being chosen as the positioning for the county’s twelfth historic marker.
“Few cities have the historical past Tarpon has,” Justice mentioned. “And these monuments are concerning the historical past of the group and telling the story of the group and its residents, which is so essential and provides depth to the expertise for the guests to the realm.”
In keeping with Salley, the popularity is properly deserved.
“It’s nice to have this plaque to attract guests and residents to honor our historical past,” he mentioned. “We’re grateful to the county and to everybody with the town who was concerned for this plaque.”