Written by Veronica Marta Goodrich. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Often one hears a Trinidad native ask for “Marta bread” instead of italian of french bread. The name dates to 1926 when Martin and Prospero Marta opened Marta Bakery on Country Club Drive.
The brothers, sons of Giovanni Marta and Mary Bersono, were born in the Piedmonte Region of Italy in the little village of San Giovonni Canavese, province of Torino. Martin was born Oct. 26, 1878, and Prospero ten years later in 1888.
The older brother was a cabinet maker. He came to the United States in 1902 to work as a carpenter in the Illinois coal mines. He joined an older brother and two older sisters. He took out his citizenship papers in Illinois on 1904.
In 1907 he returned to Italy for an extended family visit. However, as was the custom among immigrants, he hoped to find a bride during his visit home.
Never a man to make rash decisions, he returned to the United States unmarried. This time, he settled in Lester, one of the coal camps of southern Colorado. Almost a year would go bye before he wrote to Veronica Domenioa Pricco, also of San Giovananni Canavese, and asked her to come to Colorado and marry him.
Verinica, the second of three daughters of Domenico Pricco and Catherina Caserio, was born Nov. 1, 1885. Martin’s proposal was a surprise because he had only spoken to her casually and danced with her a few times at village feasts. He hadn’t indicated serious intentions.
She, however, was a young woman who was not afraid to take a chance. At the age of 13, she had gone to Nancy France, to work in to silk factories. She had stayed 5 years. The opportunity to go to America proved the deciding factor. She wrote her acceptance and arrived in Colorado in June 1909.
Martin and Veronica were married at Holy Trinity Church in Trinidad the day she arrived. In the camps where bachelors were plentiful and housing scarce, the Martas divided their one-room, company-owned house and took in borders.
Their first child, John, was born in Lester in 1910. They remained in the camp until the summer of 1913 when CFI – with only a 24-hour notice – expelled them because they and borders were union sympathizers.
They arrived in Trinidad, unemployed, almost penniless and with Veronica in advance pregnancy, on the eve of the 1913 strike. They were fortunate to have friends from their native Piedmont who took them in. A few days after their arrival, their second child, Mary, was born. A second daughter, Katherine (Kate), was born in 1916.
Jobs outside the mines were scarce but on Piedmontese friend took Martin as a partner in his blacksmith shop on Plum Street. When the partner decided to returned to Italy, Ventura Gagliardi, another Italian immigrant, took his place. Eventually, Martin sold his share to Gagliardi when business proved unable to support two families.
As was the custom among many Italians, The Martas had always made their own wine. The onset of Prohibition brought an end to this hobby, but presented them with a new business opportunity.
Martin and his wife divorced in 1924 He never remarried. She remarried Charles Bonino.
In 1926 Martin, a cabinet maker and builder, combined his talents, with his brother, Prospero, a master baker. The brothers brought a dilapidated building and opened the Marta Bakery. The bakery became famous in Southern Colorado for its bread, bread sticks and torchetti. In 1947 Martin and Prospero sold to Louis Bergamo and Charles Cassio.
Martin lived in Trinidad after retirement and died on September 11, 1952. Prospero had moved to Michigan when the bakery was sold and died there in 1948.
John B. Marta (deceased 10/11/65) worked at the bakery until 1940. He was associated in several businesses with Talico Micheliza, including M and M Distributing Co. In the 1950s’ he opened the Trinidad Janitor Supply. he was married in 1935 to Hazel Harper (deceased 12/20/68). They had one daughter, Veronica Marta Goodrich, and divorced in 1938. In 1949 he married Francine Futterman (deceased 11/15/86). They had two daughters, Karen Marta Ladda and Marleen Marta.
Mary K. Marta (deceased 1968) was a graduate of seton school of nursing and a public health nurse. During World War II, she served with the U.S. Army Nurses Corps in England. In 1946 she married Robert Griffith (deceased 1970). She, her husband and two children, Marta Lee and Bill, lived in Atlanta, Ga.
Katherine Marta married Lawrence Nazzaro of Aguilar in 1947. She worked at the bakery until its sale. She and her husband moved to Alamosa in 1948 where they owned a restaurant and bar and later a vending machine company. They are retired and still reside in Alamosa.
Information submitted by Katherine Marta Nazzaro and Veronica Marta Goodrick.
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