Sanford
(Celery City)
Seminole County, Florida

St. Johns River
The surrounding land was an old Spanish grant, and belonged, in 1870, to General Joseph Finegan, an ex-officer of the
Confederacy. From him General Sanford purchased the entire estate (known as the old Levy grant) of twenty-three
square miles. At that time there was on the lake shore an insignificant hamlet called Mellonville, after Captain Mellon, U.
S. A., who was killed here in an engagement with the Seminoles. General Sanford,s early attempts to introduce
organized labor, whether white or black, were resisted by force of arms, but he soon became strong enough to defy the
prejudices of the scattered population, and the result is apparent in the present prosperity of the place. A large number
of Swedes were imported with their families, and they now form a prosperous part of the community.

Seminole War
During the Seminole war this was the site of Camp Monroe. The army was attacked on February 8, 1837 by Coacooche
or Wild Cat. It would be renamed Fort Mellon after Captain Charles Mellon, who along with soldiers were killed in the
unsuccessful attack.

The town founded on this site was originally called Mellonvile. It was found in 1842 by Daniel Stewart. Mellonvile would
become the county seat of Seminole County. The fruit packing plant was built in 1869.

In 1870 General Henry Shelton Sanford bought 12,548 acres west of Mellonville. Swedes would be imported as laborers.
Sanford would be incorporated in 1877 and annex Mellonville in 1883. President Chester Artur vacationed a week at the
Sanford House in April of 1883. He would stay at the Sanford House built in 1875 and remodeled in 1882.  

"Chet" and His Travels (Macon Telegraph, April 12, 1883)
At 2 o'clock this morning the steamer with the Presidential party on board arrived at
Palatka, where Mrs. G. A. Mercer, of
Savannah, a cousin of the President, accompanied by Miss Jessie Bruce, of Cumberland, Maryland, and Miss Hattie
Cope, of Savannah, friends of Mrs. Mercer, came on board by previous invitation of the President to accompany the
party to this place.

The President rose this morning about 8 o'clock, but, willing to escape the society of his ever eager friends, remained in
his room reading for three hours. At 11 o'clock he appeared, chatted a few moments, and then went down to his
breakfast. Besides those accompanying the President whose names have already been published, there is his chef, a
Frenchman , and Alex. Powell, his private messenger. Mr. Powell is a young, stolid and good-natured man, who served
for years in the New York custom house, before and during Gen. Arthur's administration, and lost his place under
Merritt. He afterward went into service at the White House under President Arthur.

Secretary Chandier is a happy man. He is restive, chatty and companionable. Just after breakfast the journalistic corps
collected upon the forward saloon deck and the Times-Union representative was chosen oracle. They were joined by
the Secretary of the Navy, who took a lively part in the conversation.

"When these gentlemen want information." he said to the oracle, "don't you hesitate to give it simply because you don't
know; if they ask you how large alligators grow, don't disappoint them; if it is fifteen feet you make it thirty; they haven't
come all the way to Florida for any ordinary common-place information."

He went about fun-hunting. Some one had asked a certain distance, and learned that it was seven miles. Mr. Chandler
went to Purser Hammond who replied that it was five miles. The Secretary came back brimming over.

"He says it is five miles." said he, "but make it seven; he is a New Hampshire man; you can safely make it seven."

Purser R. O. Hammond has earned the gratitude of the entire party. I do not know if he is a New Hampshire man, but we
all know that he is a gentleman, kind, courteous and accommodating.

It was past 1 o'clock when the De Bary reached Enterprise wharf. There were about fifty people on the dock, but they
were quiet and made no inquiries or demonstration. A man brought a roupy-looking eagle he had captured in the woods
and desired the President to accept it as a present. General Arthur, perhaps foreseeing what was coming, retired inside
the saloon and his secretary in his behalf declined the emblem of our nation.

Leaving
Enterprise we went across the lake to Sanford, where we were greeted by an artillery salute and a big crowd of
quiet people, who stared but gave no sign. The party walked to the Sanford House, which yet remains open. There was
no committee of reception and no speeches. The President was quietly greeted by a number of citizens and went to his
room, where he remained until his dinner hour.

A laughable joke occurred just before our arrival. The proprietor of the Sanford House, Mr. James S. Case, had
adorned  the head of his register with pen-scroll work in appropriate national heraldic designs, beneath which it was his
purpose that General Arthur's name, like Abou Ben Adhem's should "lead all the rest." Messrs. Griffin, of the Waycross
road, and Shaw of the Georgia Central, with a friend arrived and wrote their bold signatures under the scroll work. Mr.
Case came in just as they finished. He tore his hair, but it was too late. And the signature of Chester A. Arthur follows
that or the irrepressible J. H. Griffin.

1884
By 1884 Sanford was connected to Tampa by the Florida Southern.

Handbook of Florida (Norton, 1890)
Population 3,500 -- Lat 28 degrees 50' N -- Long. 81 degrees 17' W.
Hotels - The Sanford House, $3 to $4 a day - San Leon Hotel, $2 to $2.50 a day.
Railroads, Steamboats, Etc. Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West Railway, South Florida Railway, Punta Gorda, and the Gulf
steamship lines.
Sanford & Lake Eustis Railway, west to Tavares, Leesburg.
Sanford & Indian river Railway, southeast to Lake Charm.
The Orange Belt Railway, southwest to Tarpon Springs and the Pinellas Peninsula.
All these roads use a station in common near the hotels and business streets. Restaurant in station.
Steamboats - The steamboat wharf is five minutes' walk east of the Sanford House. There are daily boats to and from
Jacksonville and intermediate landings.
Carriage rate from station or landing, 24 cents. luggage, 25 cents per piece.
Livery. -- Saddle horses, 75 cents to $1 an hour. $2 to $3 a day. Double teams, $5 a day.
Guides for hunting and fishing, $5 a day with dogs and outfit.

Sanford is pleasantly situated on the south shore of Lake Monroe, the land rising from the water level in a gentle slope
sufficient for effectual drainage. The town is named after General H. S. Sanford, late United States Minister to Belgium.

The surrounding land was an old Spanish grant, and belonged, in 1870, to General Joseph Finegan, an ex-officer of the
Confederacy. From him General Sanford purchased the entire estate (known as the old Levy grant) of twenty-three
square miles. At that time there was on the lake shore an insignificant hamlet called Mellonville, after Captain Mellon, U.
S. A., who was killed here in an engagement with the Seminoles. General Sanford's early attempts to introduce
organized labor, whether white or black, were resisted by force of arms, but he soon became strong enough to defy the
prejudices of the scattered population, and the result is apparent in the present prosperity of the place. A large number
of Swedes were imported with their families, and they now form a prosperous part of the community.

Belair, three miles south of Sanford, and easily reached by rail or carriage road, is one of the largest and most famous
plantations in the State. It is the property of general Sanford, who began operations on a large scale soon after his
purchase of the Levy grant. The grove contains 95 acres of oranges and 50 acres of lemons, with a large experimental
farm, where all kinds of exotics are tested under the best possible conditions for ascertaining their adaptability to the
Florida climate.

Lake Monroe is nearly circular in shape, six miles long, a little more than five miles wide, and with an average depth of
about twelve feet. Sanford and Enterprise are the only two towns on its shores. The fishing for bass and other
fresh-water varieties of fish is good in all parts of the lake, but of course the fish have their favorite feeding grounds,
and until these are ascertained there is little use in fishing. The shores of the lake are for the most part wild, and
covered with a heavy growth of forest and saw palmetto. Deer and turkeys are found within a few miles of the lake, and
even along its less frequented borders, but without a guide and trained dogs it is nearly impossible to shoot them.
Above Lake Monroe the river is not regularly navigated, though it is practicable for good sized launches. Its winds for the
most part among vast stretches of savannah and saw grass, occasionally spreading into large lakes, as Harney, Jessup,
Poinsett, Winder, and Washington. It is often a very difficult matter to decide which is the true river channel, but when
found the stream is easily navigable and the upper lakes are so near the Indian River at Rockledge and Eau Gallie that
carries are easily made across the intervening hammock. The upper St. John's should not be attempted save in a boat
that will serve as a sleeping place at a pinch, for there are often long stretches of morass where it is impossible to camp
comfortably on shore.

1899 (Pennsylvania Railroad Tours to Florida 1899)
SANFORD.

125 miles from Jacksonville, via Tropical Trunk Line ; also reached by boat on
St. John's River.

Sanford was originally a Spanish grant, and passed from hand to hand until 1870, when it was purchased by Gen.
H. S. Sanford, through whose instrumentality a number of Swedish families were imported, and to their toil and industry
the prosperity of the present community is largely due.

The picturesque body of Lake Monroe, on whose shore it is partly built, adds no small share to the attractive features of
the place. It has long been held in the high estimation of Florida tourists and well warrants a visit.

PRINCIPAL HOTELS.
Sanford House.
Sirrine Hotel.
San Leon Hotel.

In 1913 Sanford become the county seat of Seminole County.

In 1942 Sanford became the site of the Naval Air Station Sanford. In was inactivated in 1946 but put back into use for
the Korean War through the Vietnam War. The base was closed in 1968 and the airfield was given to the City of
Sanford. In 1995 it was renamed the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
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Henry Sheldon Stanford
(He obtained the title of ‘General,’ which he is often
noted by, after donating a cannon battery to the
Union in the Civil War.)
President Chester Arthur
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George Barker's Sanford on Lake Monroe