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Pinecraft is a small neighborhood community of approximately 3,000 Amish and Mennonites. It is situated near the intersection of Bahia Vista Street and Beneva Road in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. It is a popular winter vacation spot for many North American Amish and Mennonites, particularly from Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.[3]

Pinecraft Post Office, closed in 2016

"Pinecraft" became the new name in 1925 or 1926 of what had been the Sarasota National Tourist Camp, consisting at the time of 466 campsites, most of them 40 feet (12 m) by 40 feet (12 m) in size, with a small public park at the present site of Pinecraft Park, a Community House and a water tank. At that time Pinecraft was

"Pinecraft" became the new name in 1925 or 1926 of what had been the Sarasota National Tourist Camp, consisting at the time of 466 campsites, most of them 40 feet (12 m) by 40 feet (12 m) in size, with a small public park at the present site of Pinecraft Park, a Community House and a water tank. At that time Pinecraft was about 1/2 square mile in size, bounded on the north by Bahia Vista Street (at the time Bay Vista Street), on the west by Phillippi Creek, on the south by Second Avenue South (roughly parallel with the current Schrock Street), and on the east by Yoder Street (at the time Eleventh Street, later Lee Drive). [5]:1–3 Sometime after 1926 another tourist camp called Homecroft was laid out on adjacent property west and north of Pinecraft, which sometime after 1946 was incorporated into Pinecraft. Homecroft, about 1/4 mile by 1/2 mile in size, was bounded by Hacienda Street on the north, Yoder Street (then Lee Drive) on the west, Schrock Street (then Acacia Street) on the south, and Beneva Road (then Beneva Drive) on the east.[5]:1–7

The transition from camps to residential areas occurred gradually, with major housing construction beginning in the early 1940s, continuing briskly through the 1940s and into the 1950s.[5]:103–117 The roads were paved around 1949–1950. In 1949 single lots at Pinecraft sold for $200, corner lots for $225.[5]:122

Mennonite and Amish Churches

The Mennonite Tourist Church at 3340 Bahia Vista Avenue has been a much-used landmark from the time it was purchased by Mennonites in 1946 for $7,500 (it had been Kruppa bakery until then), and had an attendance at the first Sunday services of 531. At one time it was used by both Mennonites and Amish in separate services.[5]:90

The transition from camps to residential areas occurred gradually, with major housing construction beginning in the early 1940s, continuing briskly through the 1940s and into the 1950s.[5]:103–117 The roads were paved around 1949–1950. In 1949 single lots at Pinecraft sold for $200, corner lots for $225.[5]:122

The Mennonite Tourist Church at 3340 Bahia Vista Avenue has been a much-used landmark from the time it was purchased by Mennonites in 1946 for $7,500 (it had been Kruppa bakery until then), and had an attendance at the first Sunday services of 531. At one time it was used by both Mennonites and Amish in separate services.[5]:90–91 Starting in 1947 it was also used as a school for children vacationing in Florida, though by 1949 or 1950 the county built a school for Pinecraft children at the corner of Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street.[5]:97–98 Currently the Amish have a separate church located at 1325 Hines Avenue.

Transportation from the northAmish from Indiana and Ohio travel to Pinecraft on buses of the Crossroad Tours company of Shipshewana, Indiana,[6] and Pioneer Trails company of Millersburg, Ohio, which has "Florida Line Runs" all months except June and July.[7] From Pennsylvania many Amish travel on buses of Elite Coach of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, whose "Florida Line Run" has once-weekly journeys from January through March,[8] and on those of Melard Coach, which provides transportation most weekends from late December through March.[9] Both Elite Coach and Melard Coach provide service from multiple points in Lancaster County.[8][9]

See also

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