Our History 2016-12-06T12:14:25+00:00

The History of Father Carr’s Place 2B

On May 24th, 1974, Martin Patrick Carr was ordained a priest by Bishop Mark Schmitt and was assigned Associate Pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Oshkosh, WI.  That same year, Father Carr founded The Place 2B in the basement of St. Peter’s Church.  It was a youth center with many fun and positive activities for teens to do.  The First Annual Thanksgiving Day Meal was also held in 1974.

In 1977, The Place 2B was moved to a new location located in the 1900 block of N. Main St.

In 1979, Father Carr requested to be the full time priest at The Place 2B and moved it to 1965 Oshkosh Ave.  He purchased a large house and built a multi-purpose youth recreation center, which included a roller skating rink, video arcade, pizza ovens, a miniature golf course and more. The Place 2B’s new location also allowed Father Carr to house abused women and children, runaway teenagers and anyone else who needed help.

In 1980, The Place 2B was incorporated as a non-profit.  Using money received from various fundraisers, Father Carr purchased the Lakeland Motel, which was the property adjacent to The Place 2B.  The Motel was operated to raise funds as well as to house people in crisis.

In 1983, Father Carr built a larger recreation center that included one of the largest roller skating rinks in the state, Padre’s Pizza Restaurant, a video game arcade, pool tables, indoor mini-golf, foosball and pinball machines.  It really was THE Place 2B for the youth of the area. Groups came from all over the state for school and church retreats, work projects and simply just for the fun of it.

1983,  also brought the creation of Steven Smith Memorial Park.  This park and playground was named after a 14 year old boy who came to Father Carr during a time of crisis in his life.  After living at The Place 2B for a number of months, Steve returned home, valuing himself and his family much more. Steve passed away as the result on an asthma attack a few weeks after returning home.

In 1985, the Mission Statement was written and The Place 2B became known as The Place 2B Family Life Center, placing a larger emphasis on supporting families. Family counseling became a larger part of what Father Carr did and retreats were being held more frequently to support both young and old in their formation.

In 1987, a new gymnasium was built in place of the roller rink for youth to play basketball, volleyball, etc.  Pool tournaments became a popular activity with the teens.

In 1991, the building at 510 N. Main was purchased and used as a homeless shelter for men, women and children. Soon after, adjacent buildings were purchased and the St Francis Community Free Clinic was opened, as was a night time drop-in center. Within the next couple of years, Father Carr purchased 10 buildings in the downtown Oshkosh area to be used for the homeless and needy.

In 1997, Holy Family Chapel and Retreat Center was built on the campus at 1965 Oshkosh Avenue.

In 2001, the downtown Main St. buildings were sold and the new Bethlehem Inn Spirituality Center was built at 1965 Oshkosh Ave.  This three story hotel-style building housed the shelter for men, women, and children, as well as the St. Francis Free Community Clinic and the St. Joseph Dining Room.   The St. Joseph Dining Room served three meals daily to anyone in need.

In 2003, a twin building to the Bethlehem Inn was built and became the shelter for men.  The addition of this building made it possible to have a separate shelter for the women and children.  A new building for the St. Francis Community Free Clinic was also constructed and Father Carr’s dream of having a stand- alone building for the clinic had come true. Because of doctors, nurses and many other volunteers, anyone in need of our clinic services could receive them free of charge.

In 2004, the gymnasium and teen center building was transformed into The Mother Teresa Center and St. Martin DePorres Food Bank.  The Holy Family Dining Room and Chapel were also relocated to this building.  The building also provided a space for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter meals.

In 2007, Father Carr had both of his lower legs amputated due to diabetic complications.  These complications eventually led to his death on Father’s Day, June 17th, 2007. Thanks to many volunteers and donors, the mission continued without interruption.

In March of 2008, Joe Geniesse, a long time friend and volunteer of Father Carr’s, was hired as the Executive Director of The Place 2B.  Joe and his family moved into the new living space built for them in one of the shelter buildings.   For the first time in its history, Father Carr’s Place 2B had a paid employee.

2014, marked the 40th birthday of Father Carr’s. The mission consists of Holy Family Villa, a shelter for women & children, Bethlehem Inn, a shelter for men, St. Francis Community Health Clinic, Holy Family Chapel, St. Martin DePorres Food Pantry and the Mother Teresa Center which hosts many community events and activities. Father Carr’s has been so important to the community and will continue serving all those in need for another 40 years and beyond.

In February of 2015, Bob Lang joined Father Carr’s Place 2B as the second executive director since Father Carr. Bob has experience serving others in schools, non profits and the Catholic Communituy. He was most recently a pastoral minister at St. Bernard Parish in Appleton.