Sanford was not always known as the "Celery City". The origins of Sanford's connection to celery farming began on December 26, 1894, when a freeze damaged the area's citrus groves. They began to recover during a warm and wet January which promoted new shoots, but a second freeze hit on February 7, 1895, practically wiping them out. The 24 degree temperature was the coldest known in Florida to that point. The freeze was so intense that the sap froze inside the trunks, many of which split open, sounding like gunshots, and crashed to the ground. The population quickly dropped from 5000 to 2000 as the groves were abandoned. I.H. Terwilliger stayed after the freezes and is believed to have planted the first celery grown in Sanford in 1896. By 1898, celery became the crop synonymous to Sanford.
Reproduction of glass plate negative by Jefferson Clay Ensminger: Photographic Collection, box 3, folder Ensminger, General Collection, UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida.
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Photographic Collection, box 3, folder Ensminger, General Collection, UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida.
General Photographic Collection, Student Museum and UCF Public History Center Collection, Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.