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Friendship Baptist Church

Markers: Sarasota History

Location: 5700 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Friendship Baptist Church photo

The first church in Sarasota County was organized by John Hendry July 6, 1875. Charter members of the Friendship Baptist Church were E.R. and Emiline Foster, Rebecca Lowe, Mrs. L.F. Rawls, Martha Reaves, I.A. and Eleanor Redd, John Tatum, Serene Tatum, and J.F.M. Tippett. Members erected a small log structure on borrowed land 5 miles south of here which served until 1887. The first pastor was E. J. Hull, followed by I.A Redd, who served from 1877 to 1891. Services were held one weekend per month. This four acre plot was obtained in 1887 through the efforts of Charles Reaves, Fruitville's first settler.

Due to the need for a cemetery, the Florida Mortgage and Investment Co., LTD gave this site as a "place of public worship, school and burying ground". Church members earned building funds from the sale of 100 barrels of lime produced from burned oyster shells. Trustees were Charles L. Reaves, Frank H. Tucker and John Tatum. The first services in the new church were held in June of 1887. Within a year membership doubled to 43. The church building also served as this areas school until 1898. In 1953 the early building was moved ½ mile south of here and was replaced by a new structure to serve over 200 members.

Dedicated in 1985 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission

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