St Catherine of Siena

Images of 1868 – 1940 Church

The third Catholic church in Martinez was completed in 1869, but a significant remodel was finished in 1890, doubling the capacity from 100 people to 250 people.  In 1940 a new larger church was dedicated.  The old church was eventually razed to make way for the school building.


I spoke with Jeff Roubal the other night;  he suggested the the footprint of the church was likely a cross, and explained to me the meaning of the word “transept” as used in the article in the image below.  I have updated my drawings to reflect Jeff’s suggestion (at link above).
It seems that the church was built in 1868-69, but expanded from 100 person capacity to 250 in 1889-90, when the transept was inserted.  Some literature refers to a rebuild in 1889, but I see it more as an expansion/remodel.  The article also describes the addition of a belfry in the 89/90 work.  I wonder whether the steeple was there before, or if that was added at the time?  It looks like that might have been added on top of the front “tower”.  Ironically, without the steeple the front would look similar to the current schurch with the squared-off top and four spires in the corners.
I scanned a circa 1940-49 postcard and cropped to the church location (1st image).  This shows a side view of the old church with the 1940 church in the background.
(1) The roof ridge of the transept appears to be at an equal height to the ridge of the main/original structure.  
(2) The steeple was removed by this point.  Was demolition underway?
(3) This possibly refutes some details in the Yellow Painting (below) see item 5 below.
(4) I see two windows on the west side of the main structure, north of the transept (one partially obscured by power-pole).   
(5) The small spires on the corner of the front “tower” have been removed.  Is is possible that there were spires on the corners of the transept at one point (consistent with the Yellow Painting) but these had also been removed?
Circa 1940-49 cropped from postcard shown below

This shows the two churches after the steeple was removed from the old church.

Shown with old rectory in the foreground

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Front view circa 1938

Both churches shown together 1940

I think that I can see the western ridgeline on the transept roof, looking to be at an equal height to the main/original roof.

Old church front view circa 1940. This discusses the addition of a belfry and a transept.

Both churches shown together 1940
Yellow Painting” This is a photo of a painting that hangs in the St Catherine’s parish office.

On the right side of the image there is confirmation of the symmetry of the foot print of the 1889 addition in a transept.

The roof is shown, and it shows a spire in the corner, echoing the spires on the main structure. However, this is inconsistent with the circa 1940-49 side-view photo cropped from a postcard. 

This shows the ridgeline is lower on the addition; however, this is inconsistent with the circa 1940-49 side-view photo cropped from a postcard. 

But clearly the artist compressed the height of the steeple — ran out of canvas?

Circa 1940-49 Postcard showing both churches from west.

Above and below between 1902 (Courthouse) and 1930 (no RR Bridge), likely early in the range (no oil tanks/docks?).  Do we see the south side of the church (red arrow) and a spire in the corner?  Note that the elementary school 2nd building (now City hall) has not yet been built.   Earlier domed structure (now Boys & Girls Club) is present.

Front – North Side
West Side
East Side
Top View

NOTE: Drawings updated 5-18-19 to reflect new information

Is this how the 1869 church looked prior to the 1889 belfry?

A photo of a photo from the recent Martinez Historical Society exhibit, “Amen”.