Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced that Cycadia Cemetery in Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County has been listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
Florida Cultural Resources Director Tina Bucavalas was instrumental in securing this distinction after a lobbying and awareness effort that included gaining the support of prominent Greek Americans from the area, including support letters from U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias and Tampa’s Greek Consul General Dimitrios Sparos.
“Cycadia Cemetery is a culturally and historically significant site for Tarpon Springs’ Greek community,” Secretary Lee said. “Artistic detail on many of the graves is associated with important cultural practices such as sponge diving and music as well as religious beliefs.”
Many headstones are carved with sponge boats, anchors and diving helmets, or include porcelain portraits of the deceased in their diving suits or at the Sponge Exchange.