Historic Markers Across Florida

Upsala Swedish Community

Marker ID:  
Location: Upsala Rd at pull out just south of FL 417, Sanford, FL
County: Seminole
Coordinates: N 28° 47.695    W 081° 19.000
  28.79491666    -81.31666666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQ5TA


This site was the center of the earliest and largest Swedish community in Florida. Located here were the Scandinavian Society Lutheran Church; its cemetery; and a meeting house, which also served as a school until 1904.

In May 1871 thirty-three Swedish immigrants (twenty-six men and seven women) arrived under the sponsorship of Henry S. Sanford for the purpose of developing his citrus groves (St, Gertrude, which extended from what is now Central Florida Regional Hospital south to Third Street; and Belair, west of the railroad tracks on Old Lake Mary Road).

General Sanford's initial cost was $75.00 per person ($65.00 for transportation and $10.00 to a recruiting agent). He also agreed to give each immigrant free rations and living quarters for one year, after which each would be given a parcel of land. In November 1871 twenty additional Swedes arrived and joined the original immigrants to form the Upsala community. Many descendants of these early immigrants still live in the Sanford area.

Seminole County Historical Commission