St. Martha Mission Church
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member TaoZero
N 27° 20.328 W 082° 32.253
17R E 347900 N 3024898
Quick Description: Located at St. Martha's Catholic Church in downtown Sarasota
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 10/12/2010 4:36:07 PM
Waymark Code: WM9XVJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member tiki-4
Views: 13

Long Description:
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.

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.
Marker Number: N/A

Date: July 17, 2009

County: Sarasota

Marker Type: Roadside

Sponsored or placed by: The Sarasota County Historical Commission

Website: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Markerman62 visited St. Martha Mission Church 8/19/2016 Markerman62 visited it