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Florida Guide > Other Florida

City of Sanford


For most people,Sanford is just the place they fly into when they are on a charter flight.However,Sanford is well worth a visit in its own right

Sanford is in Seminole County and is situated on the south shore of Lake Monroe at the head of navigation on the historic and beautiful St. Johns River.

With its mixture of specialist shops.cafes and waterfront,there is no finer place to visit

Waterfront - two miles of the most beautiful waterfront in Central Florida for fishing, boating and water sports.

Parks - enjoy several parks strategically located at the waterfront and through the city.

Shopping - lots to see in the different stores with more than 20 antique and collectable shops and almost 200 dealers, all located within a short walk of Downtown's Magnolia Square.

Entertainment - visit the newly restored Helen Stairs Theatre, Florida's newest facility for the performing arts.

Dining- enjoy eating in one of the quaint restaurants or Victorian tea rooms located throughout the historic district.


If we go back to the 1830's, the area was the site of a U.S. Army post ( Camp Monroe.) After battle with Seminole Indians the site was named Ft. Mellon in honor of Capt. Charles Mellon who was killed in the altercatiion,later, the community around the fort became known as Mellonville. With the advent of the Steamboat service,the population grew ant the town became a distribution point for goods coming into and being transported round Florida

With investment from London in the 1880s,Thomas Sanford encouraged the development of this prosperous new city;Sanford and with the arrival of the railway,its future was secured

Sanford is now one of Florida's fastest growing areas and its airport is the 4th busiest international airport in Florida,(thanks to the mouse!) Sanford airport has well over a million passengers a year Sanford is also home to the southern most terminal for Amtrak's Auto Train.

Henry S Sanford is the founder of Sanford and there is a museum bearing his name The Sanford Museum houses exhibits illustrating the history of the City of Sanford and the life of its founder

Built as a memorial to Henry Shelton Sanford, the museum houses his library and manuscript collection as well as a collection of 19th century decorative arts which belonged to the Sanford family. Henry S. Sanford, 1823-1891, was a lawyer, diplomat, and innovator in the production of citrus. His papers reflect his entire career and contain information on diplomatic matters and business during the Victorian age. His library contains books and magazines in seven languages which cover law, politics, religion, science, and popular fiction.

Hours of operation are Tuesday til Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 4 p.m., and on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. unitl 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Group tours are available by appointment. For more information, call 407-330-

Thomas Sanford was also responsible for Belair,a citrus grove and experimental garden where the Valencia orange was tested for the Florida growers

In 1887, a bakery on First Street caught fire. The blaze spread rapidly through the wooden buildings on the east side of town until stopped by the volunteer fire department. When the town was rebuilt, the new structures were made of brick.

The winter of 1894 was abnormally cold and destroyed the whole crop This was a disaster for the area;however,a sub irrigation system was developed and 10 years later Sanford was one of the biggest vegetable growers in the United Staes and was nicknamed Celery City!

From 1942 to 1968, the Sanford U.S. Naval Air Station drew many residents away from agriculture and brought new people to the city. Today the old station is Sanford's International Airport.

How To Enjoy The Walking Tour...
This walking tour of Sanford's downtown Historic District will take about one hour. It includes examples of the diverse architectural styles and building materials. The buildings on the walking tour that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places have a bronze plaque.

The starting point of the tour is in the centre of town where the clock is located at Magnolia and First Street. The clock used to be on the First National Bank building. In 1931, A.H. Moses donated the clock to the city. It was placed at the intersection of Park Avenue and First Street where it remained until 1961 when it was moved to the Elks Club on Second Street. On July 9, 1985, the renovated clock was installed at its present location.

Sanford's Historic Districts...
Sanford has two historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The commercial district, with 26 buildings, was listed in 1976 and the residential district, with 434 houses, was listed in 1989.

I do hope this potted history will encourage you to visit Sanford,maybe on the day of your flight back?

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 15 July 2006
Viewed 4260 times since 1 September 2008.

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