Historic District Showcases Modern Content


Photo by Rebecca Reif.

(Above) At Magnolia Square, the famous clock in Downtown Sanford serves as a landmark for this area. The clock dates back to the early 1900s and was originally purchased for the First National Bank No. 1. This clock has been through four location changes, and was also interacted with during the Second World War by locals.

Rebecca Reif, Director of Photography

(Above) Art is a huge part of Downtown Sanford, displayed through the streets, shops, and events that take place. Every month, on the third Saturday from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M., the Sanford Art Walk occurs, where several pieces of art are either judged or sold. In the Historic Sanford Welcome Center, if an individual’s piece of art is chosen, it will remain on display until the next event. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)
(Above) Starting in the evening and transitioning to night, Downtown Sanford experiences the most popularity and business, given its vendors’ liveliness and the unmatched entertainment. Also, the events are always changing based on the season, making time spent in Downtown Sanford constantly exciting and new. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)
(Above) Built in 1887, one of the oldest fire departments in Florida has been transformed into a sports bar and restaurant. Other occupants of this space have included a jail, armory, city hall, and most profoundly, a fire station. The Station Bar and Grub’s goal was to preserve the history in this building, whilst also creating a place to socialize and eat. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)
(Above) Several clothing boutiques can be found around Downtown Sanford, and they all have a different variety and style of clothes. Given that the most visited sites in Downtown Sanford are along the same street, East 1st Street, it is not uncommon for individuals to stop in and visit a countless amount of local businesses, even if that were not their sole purpose in heading into Downtown Sanford. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)
(Above) Maya Books and Music caters to both people who love books and music, selling gently used books, vinyl records, posters, DVDs, and CDS. The upstairs portion is dedicated to the music side of the store, whereas the downstairs features the books, all totaling in over 100,000 items. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)

Throughout the past ten years, Downtown Sanford has transitioned from a primarily historic area to a revitalized town, with various unique shops, restaurants, and activities. Downtown Sanford is also known as the “Historic Waterfront Gateway CIty,” based on its proximity to Lake Monroe and its historical attributes. Going back to the 1830s, settlers moved into the area now known as Sanford in the time of the Seminole Wars. Given its close location to a waterway, this part of Sanford became a main place to transfer out and in goods, which helped develop Central Florida. Staying true to its authenticity and unforgettable history, Downtown Sanford’s streets encompass original brick buildings, nineteenth-century Victorian homes on the outskirts, and large oak trees everywhere.  However, inside those buildings are modern and lively establishments for both residents and tourists to appreciate.

Incorporating more of the modern aspects of Downtown Sanford are the diverse restaurants. Restaurants are a main characteristic contributing to the popularity of Downtown Sanford and there is a great range of cuisines offered. The most favored restaurants include Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, a German-inspired restaurant, The Corner Cafe, a Cuban-centered cafe, and The District, an American eatery. In addition to the restaurants, historical-themed experiences are available, and top choices for these tours are the Sanford Ghost Tour, which incorporates first-hand stories from Sanford locals about ghostly encounters, and the Downtown Sanford Historical Tour, taking guests on a walk through the major historical destinations. Whilst in the area, individuals also enjoy stopping inside the small businesses throughout the streets, whether they are antique stores, bookstores, or clothing boutiques.