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Proud Greeks > Did You Know? October 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.

Tarpon Springs is home to one of the largest Greek-American communities in the United States.

· The first Greek to move to Tarpon Springs was John Cocoris, who arrived in the early 1900s.

· Cocoris’ daughter was the first Greek child to be born in Tarpon Springs in 1906.

· Cocoris introduced sponge diving to Tarpon Springs in 1905 and recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands, particularly Kalymnos.

· In 2002, the mayor of Kalymnos was in Tarpon Springs to sign a Sister Cities proclamation between his island and Tarpon Springs, which has a large Kalymnian population.

Compiled by News Researcher Barbara Buttleman

SOURCES: www.ahepafamily.org; www.floridahistory.org and St. Petersburg Times

Greek presence in Daytona nurtures more of the same

DAYTONA BEACH > When most people think of Volusia County, they probably conjure up images of tattooed bikers, lightning fast race car drivers and bikini-clad Spring Breakers. Odds are they’re not envisioning the Greeks who have been drawn to this area since the 1700s.

But those who know their Florida history can tell you that some of the first European settlers along the Volusia County coastline hailed from Greece and its 1,500 islands.

They can also tell you the Daytona Beach area continues to be a draw for Greeks who are enticed by plenty of sun, sultry temperatures, an ocean full of seafood, and a solid Greek Orthodox Church community.

Those are some of the main reasons Elaine and Jim Pitenis decided to call Daytona Beach home seven years ago. By 1999, Jim had retired as an executive in the graphic arts industry and Elaine had wrapped up a career as a microbiologist, including a stint at Harvard.

Without money and jobs as a consideration, the couple could choose virtually any location on the planet. This is the place that felt right. Jim said he and Elaine, both of whom are 100 percent Greek, settled on Daytona Beach for the same reasons Greeks have over the centuries.

“The sun and sea has been in their blood for 2,500 years,” said Jim, who has paintings of Greek islands throughout his home. “They were always looking for a place that looked like home.”

The Pitenis family also had a few reasons unique to them. The couple and their four children, who range in age from 10 to 16, are avid golfers who hit the links every day possible. Getting in 18 holes was a lot tougher, and more expensive, when they lived in Boston and Toronto.

Read the rest of this article > Greek presence in Daytona nurtures more of the same

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