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Historic Sanford - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Florida History

You possibly think of Sanford as that airport that you pass through on your way in and out of Florida.

However it is a charming and historic City bordering on Lake Monroe and close to St Johns River. There are a host of historic buildings in the tree lined streets and it also has The Central Florida Zoo and The Seminole South College.

To start at the beginning we need to go back thousands of years when the area was inhabited by those Native Americans known as The Timucan.

By the mid eighteenth century the Timucans had been largely wiped out by war and disease and this is when the Seminoles moved in.

The U. S. army built a fort here to keep an eye on the Indians and their captain was killed in a skirmish. When they built a second fort that was named after the dead catain and Fort Mellon was established.

Very soon after this the area started to build a reputation as a trade centre which transported produce to the south by steamboat.

And now to the era when it received its name.

During the reign of Abraham Lincoln, his minister for Belgium was one Henry Sanford. Henry paid $18000 for 12, 000 acres of land that he determined would become a fine city and like many before him he named it after himself.

He imported 100 strong Swedes to do the heavy manual work to build the foundations and clear grounds for orange groves and from that day to this the population has grown to 50000.

The City has not been without its trials and tribulations. In 1897, fire raged through Sanford and 12 years later yellow fever took hold. They have survived 2 great freezes that decimated the orange crops. These were in consecutive years, 1894 and 1895.

The wealth of the city was built on the produce shipping, but very little of that is done now. The warmer summers make the south of Florida a much better bet for growing crops.

In 1942 a naval base was established here and I would bet that no one could predict the explosion in tourism that means that this base could be turned into a commercial airport that moves thousands of people through every day.

If you have ever flown into SFB you will not be surprised to learn that many of the buildings in use today are the original ones!

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Page added on: 3 October 2011
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