The 1910 Inn, located at 32 W. Tarpon Ave., has been open for just over a year and Annie Samarkos is still hard at work.
TARPON SPRINGS – The house at 32 W. Tarpon Ave. needed Annie Samarkos. That’s what she told her husband, again and again. The house needed her. But Charlie kept telling her to wait until their three daughters were older.
So she watched the house. Watched the sale sign go up in the yard. Put in a low bid and waited. Watched the sign stay in the yard for nearly 18 months.
When she called to follow up, the Realtor told her the higher bid couldn’t go through. The house was hers after what felt like forever. And on Sept. 5, 2012, the sale was official: for $175,000, Samarkos was the new owner of 32 W. Tarpon Ave.
“I’ve wanted this inn my whole life,” Samarkos said. “I wanted to take care of that house.”
Built in 1910, the house was once part of the Tarpon Inn. When the main part burned down in 1927, the house became a private residence, then later a bed and breakfast called the Spring Bayou Inn.
Now, it’s The 1910 Inn, and Samarkos gives the house the love she’s known it’s needed since she was a little girl.
Samarkos spent four months, almost to the day, getting the inn ready. Twice a week, she filled the front driveway with carpet pieces for the garbage men to take away, peeled away from the baseboards with a utility knife. She waxed the wooden floors and polished the gold bed frames and vacuumed the velvet chairs in the parlor. She painted the outside in turquoise and purple.
“There’s just something so special and heartwarming about this inn,” Samarkos said.
Four bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two apartments (each complete with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom), the kitchen, parlor and hallways are now filled with physical memories, but it took time for Samarkos to get the right look. The inn came furnished when she bought it, but many of the decorations came from the town.
“People just keep bringing me things,” Samarkos said. “Tablecloths, doilies, Christmas ornaments, special little things that need to be enjoyed. I like to think of this place as a living museum.”
Tarpon Springs residents dropped them off on the front porch of The 1910 Inn, or found her around town, Samarkos said. They trusted her with family heirlooms and memories that deserved to be shared.
By Jan. 6, 2013, the same day as the annual Epiphany celebration, The 1910 Inn was open for business.
The 1910 Inn’s first guests, Tom and Veronica Weller from Chamberburg, Pa., booked the first bedroom again for this year’s Epiphany, nearly a year in advance. On Jan. 4, they signed the guest book in the front hallway of the inn: “We’re back!”
Samarkos remembers the Wellers, and most of her other guests. One couple got married in the garden. Another engaged. One girl celebrated her 25th birthday at the inn. And Samarkos remembers them all. And she remembers what The 1910 Inn means to them.
“Old men stand in front of my sewing machine with tears in their eyes because their grandmother had one just like it,” Samarkos said. “The inn gives people the opportunity to slow down and appreciate the good memories.”
The 1910 Inn needed Annie Samarkos, and Annie Samarkos needed The 1910 Inn.
For more information on The 1910 Inn, go to the1910inn.com or call 727-424-4091.