A July 4 From Before

As we head into the holiday weekend, all of us at Welcome To Sanford wish a Happy Independence Day to you & yours!

The Fourth of July is often thought of as a time for picnics, parades and most of all, celebrations. It’s our country’s birthday, after all! In our current environment, large gatherings are not an option, but we’d still like to use the occasion to look back at a collection of celebrations and special community events from the past. We’ll start by going back over a century for a visit to July 4, 1909. This parade took place on Trade Street – the main commerce road – in Jonesboro at the time. The J. Alton McIver Building on the right may look familiar to you.

Before our next image became the location of a J.C. Penney store in the 1950s, Steele Street was a popular downtown destination for community celebrations, meetings and events. It wasn’t uncommon for this spot to be a gathering place any time something momentous was taking place. Here we see Sanford’s celebration at the end of World War II in 1945.

Speaking of community celebrations, here’s yet another noteworthy one … it’s a picture from the very first Lee County Fair, which took place in downtown Sanford near the railroad house, from Nov 13 through 15, in 1913. The fair was a yearly event until 1919 and then became more sporadic until the Sanford Lions Club assumed leadership in 1935 (and continue in that role today).

The mark of any great parade in the area at the turn of the last century always included the presence of one or more horse-drawn fire wagons. In this parade on Moore Street from over 100 years ago you can see the Gurley Drug Store and the Stein Brothers building in the distance.

Finally … here’s a community gathering of a different sort. It’s a long line of young people standing outside the Center Theater in 1952, waiting for entrance to see a popular movie. Judging by the part of the movie sign we can read, it’s possible the kids (of all ages) were waiting to see a scary movie called The Strange Door, starring Boris Karloff. The line stretches for as far as we can see!

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.