“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sanford in Seminole County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Sanford Est. 1877

The Gate City of South Florida

Sanford Est. 1877 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 16, 2021
1. Sanford Est. 1877 Marker
Inscription.  In 1842, the U.S. government began to encourage settlers to relocate to Florida by offering free land. Settlers came from all along the east coast, mostly Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas.

In 1870, Henry Sanford acquired 12,548 acres of land at the southern-most navigable point of the St. Johns River system to create a river port city which he dubbed “The Gate City of South Florida.” In 1877, the 12,548 acre “Sanford Grant” was incorporated as the City of Sanford. Soon after the city was incorporated, riverboats began making regular trips to the area. Citrus and vegetables were taken north to Jacksonville, and people and goods arrived in Sanford via the river. Immigrants from Germany, Italy, England, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Norway, France and Poland soon arrived in the area to work in the citrus groves and the celery fields of Central Florida. The more affluent visited Central Florida to relax and reap the health benefits of the climate.

In 1880 the South Florida Railroad began taking passengers and freight to and from the riverboat port of Sanford and Orlando. The City of Sanford was firmly established as a transportation
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hub for south Florida.

During this time the city's infrastructure was being developed. Sanford was planned and designed as a grid with numbered east-west streets and most north-south streets bearing the names of trees. Land was set aside for parks, churches, and schools. Although most business took place on the waterfront, First Street was the center of town. Residential neighborhoods developed south of downtown, away from the threat of flood and associated health problems. Sanford quickly grew during the first half of the twentieth century.

In 1942, Sanford became home to the Sanford Naval Air Station, which would later become the Orlando Sanford International Airport. By the 1950s and 60s, visitors were traveling to Sanford to see the New York Giants baseball team hold spring training, shop for antiques, and recreate on Lake Monroe. In 1976 Sanford's downtown commercial district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The residential neighborhood south of Second Street followed in 1989.

Bottom left: The City of Jacksonville steam boat made regular trips between Sanford and the city up north.
Bottom right: Trains like this were a common site coming into and out Sanford carrying passengers and produce Images courtesy of Sanford Museum

Pathways to History is a series of self-guided
Sanford Est. 1877 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 16, 2021
2. Sanford Est. 1877 Marker
tours focused on the history of Sanford's development and its neighborhoods. Scan the QR code with your smartphone or visit to learn more about Sanford's rich history.
Erected by City of Sanford.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1877.
Location. 28° 48.876′ N, 81° 16.05′ W. Marker is in Sanford, Florida, in Seminole County. Marker is on East Seminole Boulevard east of North Park Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Marker is along the Sanford Riverwalk along Lake Monroe. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sanford FL 32771, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Veterans Memorial Park (within shouting distance of this marker); American Revolution (within shouting distance of this marker); Seminole County World War Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Seminole War (within shouting distance of this marker); World War I (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Sanford Est. 1877 (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sanford.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 24, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 160 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 24, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Oct. 3, 2023