During the time of the Seminole Wars in the 1830s, it was the site of Fort Mellon. When the settlers moved in, it was named Mellonville and thanks to commercial steamboat service, it quickly became a distribution point for goods and things that were required for the area to grow. In 1845, Orange County was established and Mellonville would become the county seat.
Henry Shelton Sanford would purchase the land just to the west of Mellonville in 1870.
Sanford was then incorporated into Mellonville and six years later it would be annexed. Mr. Henry S. Sanford would form a land company in London and encourage people there to invest in his newfound city. At the same time, construction would begin on the South Florida Railway and a terminus would be located in Sanford. By the year 1884, the city of Sanford was quite prosperous and there were many wharves and a railway station as well as a large hotel in the area.
Henry S. Sanford
Mr. Henry S. Sanford had a great interest in Florida as the ideal location for Belair. Belair was a citrus grove and also an experimental garden that was near the Sanford area. Over 140 varieties of citrus including the renowned Valencia orange, would be tested to see if they could adapt themselves to the climate of Florida.
A bakery on First Street would catch fire in September of 1887. This blaze would spread rapidly through wooden buildings that were on the east side of the town until the volunteer fire department could stop them. The town would be rebuilt and the newer structures were all made of brick.
In the winter of 1894 to 1895, there would be a serious blow to the citrus industry as there was a deep freeze that would destroy the entire crop for the year. A lot of the citizens would face economic ruin and leave the area. For those that stayed, the harnessed artesian wells would be developed and a sub-irrigation system would help commercial agriculture.
Seminole County Seat
In the first decade of the 20th century, the Sanford area would be one of the largest vegetable centers to ship out the produce and it quickly received the nickname of Celery City for it’s most successful crop. By the year 1913, the Seminole County has established officially and now the County Seat. The boom years and bust years would follow would make and shape the growth of Central Florida.
During the years of 1942 to 1968, the United States Naval Air Station would draw a lot of the residents from the main source of agriculture and would bring new blood to the city. Today, the old naval air station is the city of Sanford’s International Airport.
In the year 1971, Disney World would open and shift the main economic force of the area once again. Today, Sanford maintains a plethora of older commercial facilities and newer, more modern facilities. Steeped in history, Sanford Florida has much to offer both young and old alike. There are also many marina’s in the area that offers both commercial and pleasure watercraft facilities for the tourists and residents alike to enjoy.
If you live in Sanford, think of us when you are needing irrigation repair.