Historic Markers Across Florida

Belair Historical Marker

Marker ID:  
Location: on Casa Verde Blvd in small park just north of Old Lake Mary Rd, Sanford, FL
County: Seminole
Coordinates: N 28° 46.767    W 081° 18.120
  28.77945    -81.302
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQ5TE


(Side 1)
Belair, located between Crystal Lake and what later became known as Belair Station, a signal stop on the South Florida Railroad, was a 400 acre portion of the original 12,000 acre grant acquired by General Henry S. Sanford in 1870.
When Mr. Sanford found the land at his 100 acre St. Gertrude grove northeast of here unsuitable for oranges due to an impenetrable layer of soil called hardpan, he moved the grove to Belair in 1874. He actively urged agencies in Washington, D.C. to establish an agricultural experiment station in Florida; and in 1881 he offered to donate 100 acres for this purpose. He repeated the offer again in 1884. When this was unsuccessful, he himself established the first experimental station in Florida for testing citrus and tropical plants for their suitability to Florida climate and soils.

(Side 2)
This experimental station of 145 acres had ninety-five acres devoted to the testing of 140 varieties of citrus imported from around the world, fifty acres to lemons, ten to nursery stock, less than an acre to 60 varieties of pineapple, and one acre to olive trees. In addition there were 200 varieties of grapes, three fig trees, and a large number of young pecan trees. A five acre track with a southern exposure sloping to Crystal Lake contained 60 rare exotics and other flowers and plants ranging from alligator pear (avocado) to varieties obtained from world wide sources.

Here Mr. Sanford built for himself a temporary two story frame lodge located in what is now the middle of the present Chase Groves subdivision. It was destroyed by fire about 1915.

In 1902 Belair was purchased by S.O. and J.C. Chase of Philadelphia. The Chase family continued citrus production at this site until the 1980s.

Seminole County Historical Commission