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The mission of the Sanford Historic Trust is to protect, preserve, and cultivate the historical heritage of the Sanford community through education and innovative stewardship.

The charm of 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.

We're not the only group in Sanford working to protect and preserve our heritage. Here's a summary of the major entities doing this work in Sanford:

Sanford Historic Trust

Sanford Historic Trust

We are 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. We focus on events to drive community involvement.

Sanford Historic Trust Initiatives:

  • Holiday Tour of Homes
  • Historic Garden Tour
  • Historic District Lamppost Maintenance
  • Historic Preservation Awards Presentation
  • The Images of Sanford Calendar

Historic Preservation Board

The Historic Preservation Board (HPB) has seven members appointed by the City Commission and is staffed by the City’s historic preservation officer and attorney.

The HPB meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5:30 PM.

The Historic Preservation Board is responsible for:

  • Designating historic properties and districts
  • Reviewing Certificates of Appropriateness (COA) applications for exterior changes, demolition, and new construction in the historic districts
  • Protecting and preserving the City’s historic character.

Sanford Historical Society

The Sanford Historic Society is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to foster interest in the history of Sanford and Seminole County. It supports the efforts of the Sanford Museum.

The Society responsibilities include collecting, preserving and interpreting local history. This includes but is not limited to, artifacts, documents and buildings of local historical significance and educational tours.

History of the Sanford Historic Trust

The Sanford Historic Trust was formed in 1989 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 and abandoned homes. 

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.

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.”

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Trust restricted to only those living in Historic Districts?

  • Absolutely not. Anyone who cares about Sanford’s historic assets can join. Many of our members live outside of the Historic District and even outside of Sanford.
Who does the Trust serve?
  • The community of Sanford and those interested in preserving its historic heritage. The Trust works tirelessly to promote the Historic Character of Sanford, and when needed, protect it.
Are the Sanford Historic Trust and the Historic Preservation Board the same?
  • No. The Historic Preservation Board is a city-appointed board who oversees the Commercial and Residential Historic Districts making sure that any changes made within these areas comply with all rules and regulations. The Trust has no authority in any decisions made by this Board.

2024 Board Leadership:

Hank Dieckhaus

Vice President
Brandy Cannon

Virginia Vlassick


Tania King

Board Members:
Denny Gibbs

Dino Ferri

Gene Kruckemyer

Charlie Hull

Stephen Snipes

Get Involved

Do you care about history and heritage as much as we do? Come to one of our events to make friends and take action. As Sanford grows, it's up to us to remember our history and protect the charm that attracted us in the first place. 

Visit our Facebook page to see what's coming up, and subscribe to our emails to get notified of our next get-together. 

You can also become a member to vote on Trust matters, join committees, and become a community leader. We welcome businesses to join as well! 

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