About the Sanford Historic Trust
The Sanford Historic Trust exists to preserve our Sanford’s heritage and magnify its charm through education and stewardship.
The charm of the historic districts is the envy of other cities and developments who try to emulate what we naturally have. Downtown Sanford and its historic districts are in the midst of a renaissance with new individuals and businesses purposefully coming here, who realize the authenticity that Sanford offers, and accept the baton of leaving it better than they found it. And that’s the key to Sanford’s success – people who understand why Sanford is so special and live it out every day through their volunteerism, stewardship, and passion for the community.
Here’s a quick summary of four major entities in Sanford that protect and promote its heritage:
HISTORIC PRESERVATION CODES - Also known as Schedule S or S Codes, they are tailored land development regulations enacted by the Sanford City Commission to safeguard the City’s historic charm and promote heritage tourism. The codes are overseen by the City’s historic preservation officer and a five member quasi-judicial Historic Preservation Board (HPB) appointed by the City Commission.
SANFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY - A nonprofit organization whose purpose is to foster interest in the history of Sanford and its environs; it supports the efforts of the Sanford Museum where it routinely holds its meetings.
SANFORD MUSEUM - Funded and operated by the City of Sanford it includes a various collections of city photographs, memoirs, family histories, yearbooks, city directories, maps, letters, memorabilia, and archived copies of The Sanford Herald (Sanford’s locally owned independent newspaper that started in 1908 and continues to this day.)
SANFORD HISTORIC TRUST (this website) - A membership based nonprofit organization with no government affiliation that advocates for the architectural and historical heritage of the city through education and stewardship. Think of the Trust as a grassroots lobbyist for historic preservation.
History of the Sanford Historic Trust
The Sanford Historic Trust was formed in 1988 as a not-for- profit organization which serves to evaluate, protect and preserve the architectural and historical heritage of the city through education and stewardship.
The founding members were “urban pioneers” who were renovating historic homes in an area near downtown Sanford that had yet to be classified as a bona fide historic district. Their beautiful homes were sandwiched between other Grande Dames that had been sadly transformed into neglected rental units, abandoned homes, or repugnant crack houses.
Sanford received a big boost in 1989, when the city was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. With 434 residences and 29 commercial buildings of historic significance now on a national register, the trust gathered momentum. In 1991-92 they worked with world renowned architects and town planners, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, to provide a master plan and an urban code that would preserve and promote Sanford’s unique historical qualities, while simultaneously encouraging growth. Plans were later finalized, fine-tuned and adopted by city officials.
The Sanford Historic Trust has initiated many other projects in its existence. The popular Holiday Tour of Homes is an annual fundraiser and showcases the city’s beautiful historic homes. Tour funds have been earmarked to residents with financial or physical needs for exterior home improvements or repairs, with additional funds assigned to city projects. Another project brought the National Main Street Program to Sanford. The Main Street Program advances preservation-based revitalization of commercial districts throughout the country The trust presents Historic Preservation Awards every May during National Preservation Week. First offered in 1993 and later partnered with the city of Sanford in 2007, the Historic Preservation Award recognizes good stewardship of Sanford’s most valuable asset - its historic structures.
In 2013 the Historic Trust commissioned award-winning artist AI Carroll to designed “Old Sanford Historic District” lamppost markers giving residents a sense of pride in place and let visitors know that they are in the Old Sanford Historic District.
A historic streetlight program, begun in 2003 in a partnership with the City of Sanford and later sponsored solely by the Trust, continues to spread light throughout the Historic District.Over 160 street lights have been installed by the Trust since the program began, plus others by the city in several parks and other areas. As founding member Helen Hickey puts it, “The trust provided the spark that was needed to reinvigorate our community.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the trust restricted to only those living in Historic Districts?
Caroline van den Berg