Historic Markers Across Florida

Disaster Strikes

Marker ID:  
Location: W Seminole Blvd. (US 92), Sanford, FL
County: Seminole
Coordinates: N 28° 48.904    W 081° 16.140
  28.81506666    -81.269
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMNNXY


The City of Sanford faced great challenges during the period between 1887 and 1897.

In 1897 a yellow fever epidemic threatened the city. The problem was so serious that armed men greeted arriving trains to prevent passengers from disembarking. Epidemics were common in small towns like Sanford during this era.

In the early hours of September 20, 1887, “The Big Fire" destroyed the entire eastern portion of downtown. The blaze started at a bakery on First Street and spread rapidly through adjacent wooden buildings which eventually burned to the ground. Investors immediately began to rebuild he area, replacing wood structures with brick.

In the winter of 1894-95, “The Great Freeze" destroyed the citrus groves on which the local economy was based. This event caused farmers to change their crops from citrus to vegetables.

Over the years, severe storms have struck the City of Sanford, causing flooding downtown. Hurricane Donna hit the city in 1960. At the time it was the sixth most intense hurricane in U.S. History. On February 23, 1998, a massive tornado hit the south side of Sanford killing 12 people.

Despite these events, local residents persevered. The city still continues to grow and prosper.

City of Sanford