TARPON SPRINGS – On June 2, the National Park Service added the Tarpon Springs Greektown Historic District in Pinellas County to the Register of Historic Places – the state’s first Traditional Cultural Property listing.
The district had previously been deemed eligible for listing on the National Register by Florida National Register Review Board on Feb. 21.
Since 1905, when Greeks first arrived in large numbers, the area has been significant for its tenacious continuity of traditional culture, extensive Greek infrastructure, and as the only Greek American community based on the sponge industry.
Folklorist and city of Tarpon Springs Curator of Arts & Historical Resources Tina Bucuvalas was instrumental in initiating, researching, and writing the nomination with the support of Mayor David Archie, the Board of Commissioners and Cultural and Civic Services Department Director Kathleen Monahan.
In 2012, Bucuvalas proposed that Tarpon Springs would provide an excellent template for a district whose significance was based on traditional culture rather than building styles. Former Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation Bureau Chief and State Historic Preservation Officer Barbara Mattick worked closely with Bucuvalas to ensure that the application fulfilled state and national technical requirements, as did Bureau Historic Preservationist Carl Shiver and Historic Preservationist Supervisor Desiree Estabrook.
National Register Historian/Reviewer Paul Lusignan said that “Tarpon Springs will serve as an excellent model for future TCP nominations, particularly for larger ethnic-based communities.”
The National Register of Historic Places, a list maintained by the National Park Service, includes historical, archaeological, or cultural properties (buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts) considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance.