Labor Days

As you may recall, last week’s Throwback feature focused on some notable factories that were prominent in the area a century ago. As we head into Labor Day Weekend, it’s worth noting that you can’t power an economy without the dedication of the people who do the work! This week, we’ll take a diverse look at some of the folks who earned a paycheck here over the years, starting with some of the very first, first responders in the area. It’s the Sanford Hose Company No. 1, in front of city hall in 1912.

We’re all familiar with the Sanford Buggy Factory — now the downtown home of the Sanford Area Growth Alliance, Downtown Sanford, Inc. and other businesses. Last week we noted that around 1940, the building was purchased by the Sanford Furniture Company and was soon converted into a factory that could manufacture products for the war effort in World War II. Here’s a look at some folks who worked in this landmark building a quarter century earlier, when it actually was a buggy factory.

Times & styles change, but some professions are never likely to go away completely. Here’s a look at a popular barber shop located near the old Commercial Building on Wicker Street. The picture dates to the 1920s. The barber shop relocated across the street, after the Commercial Building Fire of 1945.

On the other hand, purveyors of ice and coal are largely a thing of the past. The Salmon brothers, Tom & John, might be considered predecessors of modern-day “heating & cooling” business owners. They operated the Sanford Ice & Coal Company for many years, providing ice for refrigeration needs and coal for heating purposes. Here’s a look at their work crew at the building on Market Street.

The Wilrick Building has a long, distinguished history in Sanford, from its origins as a large downtown hotel in the mid-1920s. The company that built the building had its origins as a commerce store. Here’s what the Wilkins, Ricks & Company store looked like just over a century ago, before the organization got into the hospitality business.

Of course Sanford began life as a railroad town, transporting goods and passengers to and from larger communities, including Raleigh and Fayetteville. In much of the first half of last century, the area was also the source of rail car production, thanks to the Edwards Railway Motor Car Company, located off of Rose Street. Here’s a look at the 22 folks who had a hand in creating the car they’re posing with.

Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.

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