St. Martha Mission Church Historical

St. Martha Mission Church Historical (HM1TVQ)

Location: Sarasota, FL 34236 Sarasota County
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Country: United States of America
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N 27° 20.326', W 82° 32.253'

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Side 1
Beginning in 1889, circuit-riding Jesuit priests served the pastoral needs of Sarasota's small, but devoted Catholic community. In 1912, after years of meeting in various homes, the congregation built a small wooden mission church at Adelia and Fruitville Roads on lots donated by Owen Burns and the T.C. Callan and George McAlpine families. The mission church was named in honor of St. Martha, the patron saint of Owen Burns' mother, Martha Ann.

The church celebrated its first mass in February 1913. Following World War I, new families moved into the area, pews were purchased, and the choir loft was constructed. In 1927, with a congregation numbering 132, St. Martha's gained parish status when Father Charles L. Elslander became the resident pastor, a position he held for forty years.
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Side 2
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The winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus fell within the parish boundaries, and Father Elslander reached out to the circus community; this included the annual blessing of the circus train as it embarked on its national tour. From 1935-1941, the circus gave performances to benefit the parish.

The Great Depression was a difficult period for the church, but through the dedication of its parishioners,
the parish not only survived, but also expanded. The present church celebrated its first mass on Easter Sunday 1941 and its official dedication in 1942. Parish organizations continued to use the mission church as a parish hall and for various activities that included serving Sunday breakfast to World War II servicemen stationed at Sarasota Air Field.

In 1959, the mission church was dismantled to make room for a new rectory and parking.
Year Placed2009
Placed BySarasota County Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, August 22nd, 2016 at 5:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17R E 347900 N 3024895
Decimal Degrees27.33876667, -82.53755000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 27° 20.326', W 82° 32.253'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds27° 20' 19.56" N, 82° 32' 15.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)941
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 222 Adelia Ave, Sarasota FL 34236, US
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