Thomas Reed Martin

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Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, eastern elevation, featuring glass blocks that cast natural lighting into the interior - Sarasota County History Center collection [1]
Interior of Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, note the truss system that supports the barrel-vaulted roof and the Art Deco proscenium arch surrounding the stage (Sarasota County History Center collection)
Courtyard of the Hacienda Hotel in April 2012, in New Port Richey, the city is seeking a buyer to restore the building
Lemon Bay Woman's Club

Thomas Reed Martin (born April 28, 1866 in Menasha, Wisconsin - died February 1949) was an architect who was brought to Florida by one of its major developers during the turn of the twentieth century.[2] He designed some 500 residences and various public and private buildings in Sarasota, as well as commercial buildings.[3] His Florida buildings are located from Tampa to Fort Myers with many in Nokomis.

He drew the original sketches for the home of Mable and John Ringling, but the design by Dwight James Baum was selected by Mable Ringling and built by Owen Burns after Martin declined a fee reduction proposed by John Ringling.[3]

Many of Martin's buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). He was listed as a Great Floridian in 2000.[4]

Martin was the son of William Davidson Martin and Myra Martin. His family was part of the construction business for generations.[4]

Graduated from high school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, he moved with his family to Chicago in 1883. Thomas married Sadie W. Coffin on February 19, 1890. They had three sons and a daughter.[4]

Martin was first employed as a draftsman with Global Machinery Co. in Chicago. He apprenticed with the architectural firm of Holabird and Roche in Chicago. At that firm, Martin met wealthy Chicago socialite and art patron, Bertha Palmer, the widow of Chicago real estate developer Potter Palmer.

Palmer commissioned Holabird and Roche to design her large winter home in Sarasota. Sketches for the house bear Martin's trademark signature.[4] She soon would become one of the largest landholders in Florida and she also became renowned for her real estate developments and the introduction of revolutionary agricultural and ranching practices in Florida.

At the age of forty-four, Martin came to the Sarasota area from Chicago to work for Palmer in the fall of 1910. He was joined by his wife and children in 1911.[4] He set up his own practice, which flourished throughout the Florida land boom of the 1920s. Among the five hundred homes Martin designed in the Sarasota area, are many "Floridian" style homes use glass block and formed concrete embellished with Mediterranean Revival features.[5]

In the 1930s he and his son, Clarence, were the architects for the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. It was a federal economic stimulus project.

Some Florida designs[edit]


  1. ^ Pages - Archived 2012-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Rylee, Whit and Tom Payne, Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar, Today in 1866, as quoted in Sarasota History Alive!, April 28, 2010, page one of newsletter, including an image of Martin from the Sarasota County History Center
  3. ^ a b Bubil, Harold, Thomas Reed Martin, and enduring architecture, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Saturday, October 5, 2013
  4. ^ a b c d e Mikki Hartig Architect Thomas Reed Martin and Sarasota June 18, 2011 Sarasota Herald Tribune - a reference that is cited as bearing many inaccuracies (see comments following article), but possibly corrected in this article by the elimination of them in 2012 by the staff writer on the topic
  5. ^ Great Floridians, State Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of Historical Resources, [1] Archived February 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine