Sponge Market, Key West Harbor, Florida

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
The "sponges" that are sold are only skeletons. Sponges are animals that attach themselves to rocks on the bottoms of warm seas. The openings in the sponge which you buy are, in the live sponge, filled with soft jelly-like matter. This soft substance can be readily squeezed out. Divers collect the sponges from rocks, with long rakes or hooks. These sponges are put into boats, carried to the shore, and there left until the jelly-like matter decays. Then they are washed, dried, sorted, and shipped to market. It is one of these markets at Key west that is here seen. You will observe that the sponges shown are round in shape. This is because their long ends have been trimmed off. Many of the finer varieties are bleached before marketing. Sponges are found in many parts of the world in warm seas. But there are only a few places where sponge fishing is profitable. The best known of these are along the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, and off the coast of Greece and Asia Minor and parts of Africa. In the Western Hemisphere the chief sponge fisheries are off the Florida coast and among the Bahama Islands. Key West is a city of 20,000 inhabitants on the most westerly of the Florida Keys, or islands, in the Gulf of Mexico. Its chief industries are the manufacture of cigars, fancy shellwork, and sponge factories. The city has a great harbor which the government has fortified. Key West is a well-known winter resort. Its most interesting feature is the railroad which leads from the island to the mainland of Florida. This road bridges great stretches of the open gulf, and is the only railroad that is largely built over the waters of the ocean. Keystone ID: 9175 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.