Downtown Sanford, 1952



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Downtown Sanford, 1952

Alternative Title

Downtown Sanford


Sanford (Fla.)
Waterfront Districts
Lakes & ponds
Lake Monroe (Seminole County and Volusia County, Fla.)


Downtown Sanford, Florida, in 1952. The present-day Sanford, Florida, area was originally inhabited by the Mayaca and Joroco tribes by the time Europeans arrived. The tribe was decimated by war and disease by 1760 and was replaced by the Seminole tribe.

In 1821, the United States acquired Florida from Spain and Americans began to settled in the state. Camp Monroe was established in the mid-1830s to defend the area against Seminoles during the Seminole Wars. Following an attack on February 8, 1837, the camp was renamed Fort Mellon in honor of the battle's only American casualty, Captain Charles Mellon. The Town of Mellonville was founded nearby in 1842 by Daniel Stewart. When Florida became a state three years later, Mellonville became the county seat for Orange County, which was originally a portion of Mosquito County. Citrus was the first cash crop in the area and the first fruit packing plant was constructed in 1869.

In 1870, Henry Shelton Sanford purchased over 12,000 acres of land west of Mellonville to form the community of Sanford. which he called "The Gateway City to South Florida." Sanford was incorporated in 1877 and absorbed Mellonville in 1883. The Great Fire of 1887 devastated the city, which also suffered from a statewide epidemic of yellow fever the following year. The citrus industry flourished until the Great Freezes of 1894 and 1895, causing planters to begin growing celery in 1896 as an alternative. Celery replaced citrus as the city's cash crop and Sanford was nicknamed "The Celery City." In 1913, Sanford became the county seat of Seminole County, once part of Orange County. Agriculture dominated the region until Walt Disney World opened in October of 1971, effectively shifting the Central Florida economy towards tourism and residential development. In 2003, Sanford began the redevelopment of the waterfront with the RiverWalk Project to revitalize the city's riverfront.


West side view of downtown Sanford in 1952.


Original black and white photograph, 1952.


The Seminole Herald

Date Created


Date Copyrighted


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original black and white photograph, 1952.

Is Part Of

The Seminole Herald. Sanford: Our First 125 Years. [Sanford, FL]: The Herald, 2002.
Sanford Riverfront Collection, Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

The Seminole Herald. Sanford: Our First 125 Years. [Sanford, FL]: The Herald, 2002., page 126.




1.07 MB


1 black and white photograph




Still Image


Downtown Sanford, Florida

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History Teacher
Geography Teacher

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by the The Seminole Herald and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.


Cepero, Laura

External Reference

The Seminole Herald. Sanford: Our First 125 Years. [Sanford, FL]: The Herald, 2002.
Sanford Historical Society (Fla.). Sanford. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003.
"Sanford: A Brief History." City of Sanford.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 black and white photograph


“Downtown Sanford, 1952.” RICHES of Central Florida accessed November 30, 2023,



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