The smell of orange blossoms, a light breeze off the water and sunlight streaming through the Spanish moss …all things you will enjoy on a stroll through historic downtown Sanford.
In 1870, Henry Sanford purchased the land west of Mellonville. He planned for a new city to be developed as, “the Gate City of South Florida,” which he believed would become the transportation hub for all of southern Florida. In 1877, the city of Sanford was incorporated and Mellonville was annexed six years later. A few years later construction began on South Florida Railway with a terminus in Sanford. By 1884, Sanford was a prosperous town with businesses, a railroad station and a large hotel.
Another one of Mr. Sanford’s focuses was in the development of Belair, a citrus grove and experimental garden near Sanford. In this garden, more than 140 varieties of citrus, including the Valencia Orange, were tested for the Florida climate. Several authors have written books on stories like this and the long history and significance of Sanford, Florida.
This historic city is located on the shore of Lake Monroe and was once one of the region’s largest cities, only second to the city of Orlando. It used to be known as the ‘Celery Capital of the World’ due to the vast deliveries of celery that came out of this Seminole County town. Many vegetable/citrus businesses and distribution centers were headquartered in Sanford.
About 65,000 people now call Sanford home, making this city the highest populated in the county. It currently still holds the county seat and thus many local citizens work for the government.
Sanford has the charm you would expect from a great historic community, with the sweeping front porches and early 1900 architecture to prove it. The sweet nostalgia of front porch rocking chairs and brick streets appeal to many people that want to live in an area that harkens back to another era, but still affords them all the creature comforts of living in the 21st century. The area largest interstate I-4 runs through this town so accessing all of Central Florida is easy. You can live in Sanford and work in downtown Orlando with a 30 minute or less commute. Or you can hop on I-4 and head east, and you will be at one of the local’s favorite beaches New Smyrna Beach, in about 40 minutes. Sanford also offers many newer communities filled with recently constructed homes that have been built in the past few years.
The downtown Sanford area has seen a huge resurgence over the past 20 years and property values continue to skyrocket as families from the Northeast often love the comparison to the hometowns, that they grew up in. Many small businesses have popped up all over the area, including antique stores, popular coffee shops and award winning restaurants. One of the restaurants, that is frequented by both locals and visitors alike, is Hollerbach’s German Restaurant. This festive establishment has been established as a favorite for over 25 years and is a draw for true foodies that love to enjoy authentic German cuisine of wiener schnitzel and black forest cake.
Another one of the reasons that Sanford continues to see so much expansion is because of the ever-growing airport, the Orlando -Sanford International Airport. This airport is one of the fastest growing in the country and offers many international flights that make it a great option for fans of travel.
Also, a downtown redevelopment initiative has given new focus to growing the dining shopping and entertainment district that is in the heart of downtown Sanford. This entire area is already a hot spot because of the Sanford Riverwalk that runs along the shore of Lake Monroe. This walkway is used by runners, walkers and fisherman that want to enjoy the year round beautiful Florida weather. The Sanford Marina is used by boat owners who use the slips to keep their water vessels close by for an easy weekend ride up the river.
If boating isn’t your thing, you can take the family shopping at the Seminole Towne Center shopping complex. Filled with National chains and mall stores, this is one of the largest shopping areas in the northern part of Central Florida.
The city of Sanford is also the proud home to Seminole State College, the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the historic Ritz Theater, which still hosts films and stage productions.
Whether you are looking for a hundred year old Victorian style house or a new state-of-the-art modern townhome you will be sure to find a home to fit your taste in Sanford. Karen has worked with over 300 clients that have bought or sold in Sanford, so she knows the area very well. She can’t wait to show you all this wonderful city has to offer!
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