Post-Great Depression Development

The fact that much of the area was already fully developed combined with the Great Depression to create a decline in the rate of construction in Sanford’s central business district during the l930s, a trend which continues to the present.

New Construction

New construction since 1940 has largely been the result of demolition or destruction by fire of already existing buildings, such as the circa 1950 structure (#69) which replaced the early twentieth century bank and opera house building which burned in 1947.

Two significant buildings surviving from the Depression era are the 1930 Carolina Hotel (#8) with handsome brick arches decorating its four-story facade, and the former U.S. Post Office (#2), whose restrained classicism is typical of Works Projects Administration buildings constructed during the Depression.


Post-Depression and post-World War II construction generally has exhibited less architectural flair than earlier buildings, with little or no ornamentation and a fairly bland use of materials. Although most newer buildings continue in the traditional use of brick, some recent structures are concrete block, aggregate materials, and glass walls or screens.

The commercial building (#69) at the north- west corner of Moore and Wicker streets is a windowless block covered in concrete, while the structure at 127 South Steele Street (#73) is a steel frame with glass wall building with a metal lattice screen covering the facade’s upper floors.

Several early buildings in the district have been altered by the installation of screens or other coverings of metal, stucco or permastone, obscuring the facade details typical of late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial buildings. As a result, the overall visual impact of the area remains that of a pre-World War II commercial district which has undergone normal development since the period of significance.

Current Building Density

The area to the west of the rail lines is fairly densely developed, with most later buildings erected as infill or replacements for destroyed buildings. East of the rail lines, many buildings are detached from their neighbors, and there has been little infill.

Impact of Parking Lots

The creation of parking lots has had only a minor impact on the district’s visual character. Parking spaces at the rear of buildings, in the center of developed blocks, and adjacent to detached buildings have generally provided ample parking for the district.