Old Sanford Railroad Depot


Dublin Core


Old Sanford Railroad Depot

Alternative Title

Sanford Railroad Depot


Sanford (Fla.)
South Florida Railroad Company


On January 10, 1880, the City of Sanford broke ground for the construction of the South Florida Railroad station on Oak Avenue in Sanford, Florida. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) famously participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. Originally only a 10-mile track between Sanford and Longwood, the line expanded to Orlando within the first six months of its operation. By 1883, Henry B. Plant (1819-1899) had purchased three-fifths of the South Florida Railroad Company and made it part of his Plant System and the Plant Investment Company (PICO). Shortly thereafter, in the winter of 1894-1895, a freeze hit Central Florida, destroying the entire citrus crop. This brought an end to what had been Sanford’s thriving citrus industry prompting the development of its vegetable industry. By the 1900s, Sanford was one of the largest vegetable shipping centers in the United States gaining the nickname of "The Celery City" for its most successful crop.

Upon Plant's death in 1902, his widow sold his railroad system to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL). The arrival of the ACL in Sanford brought many new railroad workers as the city grew into a hub for shipping produce to surrounding areas. Rand Yard, ACL’s freight yard, housed a car shop, engine servicing facility, small locomotive shop, and the state's largest railroad ice plant.

In the early 1900s, Lake Jesup farmers demanded that the ACL build a line for them to ship their produce into town, but the railroad company refused. In response, the largest growers chartered the Sanford and Everglades Railroad with Sydney Octavius Chase (1860-1941) as the president. The new line was completed as an ACL branch at Lake Charm. The ACL purchased the new line in 1913 when the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) showed interest in buying it. The branch became the most profitable in the ACL system.

By the mid-1900s, the amount of good farmland was shrinking in Sanford due to development, driving farmers further south to farms with more acreage. This, coupled with the establishment of a U.S. Naval Air Station in the town, turned the city's focus from agriculture to the military. In 1967, the ACL merged with the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) Railroad and later was acquired by CSX. Today, the railroad station originally built by the ACL is no longer in use.


Original 7 x 5 inch black and white photograph: Vincent Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1880

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original 7 x 5 inch black and white photograph.

Is Part Of

Vincent Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.
Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

Sanford Historical Society, Inc. Sanford. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2003, page 32.




221 KB


7 x 5 inch black and white photograph




Still Image


Plant Investment Company, Sanford, Florida
South Florida Railroad Station, Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Economics Teacher
Geography Teacher

Rights Holder

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


Hazen, Kendra
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

"Sanford - Auto Train, FL (SFA)." Great American Stations, AMTRAK®. http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/SFA.
Mulligan, Michael. Railroad Depots of Central Florida. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub, 2008.
Murdock, R. Ken. Outline History of Central Florida Railroads. Winter Garden, Fla: Central Florida Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, 1997.
"Episode 25: The Railways of Central Florida" RICHES of Central Florida. http://riches.cah.ucf.edu/audio/Ep25-RailwaysOfCentralFL.mp3.
"Our Evolution and History: CSX." CSX. http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-csx/our-evolution-and-history/interactive-timeline/.


old South Fla. RailRoad depot. built about 1880 at Sanford Fla.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 black and white photograph

Physical Dimensions

7 x 5 inches



“Old Sanford Railroad Depot,” RICHES, accessed May 26, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/4228.