In the 1990s, Pinellas put it to a vote: what should be done with the railroad tracks? Voters had to decide whether they wanted to pay a "Penny for Pinellas" and invest in a recreation trail or not. The voters made the right decision (in my opinion) and the 45-mile Pinellas Trail was born. We learned about this and much more during our tour of the the Tarpon Springs Historical Train Depot Museum.
The museum is set in an old train station (or rather, depot), so it's right on the Pinellas Trail on the corner of Safford Ave and Tarpon Ave. The depot is green and white and has been artfully restored. We learned that it's the second train depot in that spot. The first burned down. Actually, a lot of history is dotted with devastating fires, and Tarpon Springs is no exception.
If you want to know what life was like is the early days of Tarpon Springs, you absolutely must visit this museum. When you do, you will be transported to old Florida by means of pictures, stories, artifacts, and exhibits. What did Tarpon Avenue look like before there were cars? Were there actually houses in Craig park? Wait, they used to hold orchestras on the bayou?
Our docent was a descendant of the Meres family, and he was a piece of history in and of himself. He was also a wealth of knowledge. He was happy we had chosen Tarpon Springs as our home and was delighted to tell us about it. In the hour we were there, we only cracked the surface, and so we will return soon.
Admission is currently free, although they do accept donations. The museum is allowing up to 10 patrons at a time, because of Covid.