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The Martin Company

In 1956, Orlando was the growing center of a citrus industry.  In September of that year the Baltimore based Glenn L. Martin Company announced that it had bought nearly 12 square miles of land southwest of Orlando to build their new Orlando Division.  Roads, utilities and water lines, housing – all construction kicked into high gear to accommodate the new defense production facility and the influx of some 2,700 employees and their families.

On Dec. 4, 1957  the Orlando Division plant of the renamed Martin Company opened its doors, and production began on missile projects such as Pershing, Bullpup, Lacrosse, Sprint, Patriot and Hellfire.  Due to a merger the Martin Company became  Martin Marietta in 1961 and another merger led to a new name in 1995 – Lockheed Martin.

Orlando became, literally,  the crossroads of the state with Interstate 4 and the state turnpike intersecting just south of the city due to the company’s influence in the turnpike’s planning phase.  Then the Bee Line (now the Beech Line) expressway to the east coast was constructed to facilitate quick trips to the Space Coast by Martin employees as well as commuters to the growing space industry.

The company (by whichever name you know it by) and its thousands of employees were and continue to be a major contributor to the success of this community and we wish to share their memories here.  Please bring other’s to our attention so that we many include them.  Please see our contact page.  Feel free to ask us for assistance!

Charlie Finley:  Range Custodian

Charlie French:  Aeronautical Engineer

Dr. Benjamin Patz:  Research Scientist

Joe Sikora:  Lockheed Martin Engineer

Keat Spriggs

Mel Taylor:  Glenn L. Martin Tech Rep

John L. Tracy:  Special Projects Manager

William M. Turner:  Electrical Engineer

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Martin Company Entrance

Photo of the new Martin Company plant on Sand Lake Road completed in January 1958.

The Martin Company

On September 15, 1956, the Glenn L. Martin Company announced the purchase of over ten square miles of land to establish their...

The Martin Plant

The Martin Plant

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Comments to “The Martin Company”

  1. Angie says:

    My grandfather, my mother and my stepfather all worked at The Martin company for periods of time between late 50’s to late 80’s, I believe. (the top photo of the entrance is what I remember!)
    We also moved to the “boondocks of Altamonte” in the 60’s and enjoyed the travel to the plant to take my step-dad dinner at times, well before traffic became an issue! I remember him bringing home red, white and blue space capsule transistor type AMFM radios for all of us kids from work. It was a point of pride for a family member to work there.

    • Kim P says:

      Greetings Angie! Thank you for visiting Orlando Memory and commenting on the post about the Martin Company. How exciting to have family members who were a part of the important work that took place at the Martin Company during those years. The AM-FM space capsule radio sounds amazing, too! We hope you will find other posts that bring back fond memories of growing up in Orlando and share them on Orlando Memory. ORLANDO MEMORY TEAM

  2. Belinda Wright says:

    My dad moved from Alabama in 1959 to work there. My mom moved from West Virginia in 1960 for other reasons, but got a job at Martin too, as a solderer. They got married in February of 1961 in Pine Hills and settled into a duplex on 18th St. Eventually building a house out in the boondocks of Altamonte Springs. My dad talked his brother into moving to Orlando also, in late 1960, to work there. He did, but only for awhile, then he went to work for NASA in Titusville and retired in 2007. Great memories!!

    • Kim P says:

      Belinda, thank you for sharing the memories of your father and his brother! Your description – “boondocks of Altamonte Springs” brought back memories. As late as 1970, I remember driving in from Lake County and there was nothing but pine tree forest where the Altamonte Mall is now located! Pretty much the only thing there was a Barnett Bank on the right side of the road going east and a few other stores.

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