Sanford is a city of about 30,000 people (2018) in the North Carolina countryside, in between the Piedmont Triad, Research Triangle, and Fayetteville. Sanford is known for its large brick production as well as local pottery, and offers outdoor activities and historic districts. Sanford also produces textiles, and has since seen the influx of the biotech industry with the Wyeth Vaccines, aka Pfizer, facility becoming the area's largest employer in 2006.
Sanford was named for C.O. Sanford, a railroad civil engineer instrumental in the building of the rail lines through the area that formed the foundation of what became the city of Sanford.
The Sanford area played key roles in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, specifically regarding sites like the House in the Horseshoe and Endor Iron Furnace. Over the following decades, the Sanford area became an important source of coal, brownstone, and brick. In particular brownstone and subsequent brick production made Sanford a key provider of these building materials for areas throughout the United States. Because Sanford sits where white beach sand from the coast meets the Piedmont clay, the city has the right ingredients to be a large producer of clay bricks. In 1959, Sanford produced 10% of the bricks in the United States and was named "Brick Capital of the USA".
On April 16, 2011 a large tornado ripped through Sanford, demolishing a Lowe's hardware store, and a warehouse, and destroying multiple homes and buildings before moving into Wake County.
The Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Cemeteries, Downtown Sanford Historic District, East Sanford Historic District, Euphronia Presbyterian Church, Farish-Lambeth House, Hawkins Avenue Historic District, Lee Avenue Historic District, Lee County Courthouse, Lee County Training School, John D. McIver Farm, Railroad House, Rosemount-McIver Park Historic District, Sanford High School, Former, Seaboard Milling Company, and Temple Theatre are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you're taking a chartered flight, you can fly into Raleigh Executive Jetport (FAA: TTA) approximately 7 miles northeast of Sanford via U.S. 1.
The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1 passes through downtown Sanford and Lee County.
The County of Lee Transit System (COLTS) is a coordinated transit system that provides transportation services in Sanford and Lee County.
- 1 Historic Railroad House, 110 Charlotte Ave. Sanford's historic railroad depot and museum, which also features a preserved locomotive from 1911 and offers other historic tours.
- 2 Gross Farms, 1606 Pickett Rd, ☏ . A large family farm open to the public at seasonal times throughout the year. The farm features strawberry patches, a pumpkin patch, a 15-acre corn maze, hayrides, and other activities. Check website for dates of operation.
- 1 Temple Theater, 120 Carthage St. Known as Central Carolina's Performing Arts Center, the Temple Theater dates back to 1925 and offers musicals and occasional movie screenings.
- There is a half-mile greenway trail in the Kiwanis Family Park with additional mileage under development.
- 2 San-Lee Park. Features several miles of mountain bike trails, ranging from intermediate to advanced, as well as hiking trails, just a few miles from downtown Sanford.
- Shops of Steele Street, Steele Street. A collection of shops in the downtown areas where you can buy pottery, antiques, local art, and crafts.
- 1 Coopers Restaurant & Wine Room, 133 S. Steele Street, ☏ .
- La Dolce Vita Pizzeria, 143 Charlotte Ave, ☏ . A popular Italian restaurant specializing in pizzas and calzones.
- 2 The Fairview Dairy Bar, 109 Carbonton Rd, ☏ . Open since 1953, a traditional American-style diner serving breakfast, lunch and dinner along with an ice cream selection right inside the front doors.
- 3 Smoke & Barrel, 133 S. Steele Street, ☏ . A newly-opened neighborhood gastropub with a focus on slow-cooked smoked meats, North Carolina craft beers, and bourbon. The pub also has live music on weekends.
- 1 Days Inn, 1217 North Horner Boulevard, ☏ .
- 2 Quality Inn, 1403 North Horner Boulevard, ☏ .
- 3 Hampton Inn, 1904 South Horner Boulevard, ☏ , fax: .
|Routes through Sanford|
|Raleigh ← Apex ←||N S||→ Southern Pines → Columbia|
|Durham ← Pittsboro ←||N S||→ Pinehurst → Southern Pines|
|Winston-Salem ← Greensboro ←||N S||→ Wilmington → Fort Fisher|