Cooler Heads Prevail

School’s out and we’re just about ready to head into the hottest time of the year. What do you say we try a preemptive counter-attack, and drop in on some legendary “cool” spots in the area?  Let’s begin with a location that is cool and refreshing to this day. The present-day home of the Sonic Drive-Thru on South Horner Boulevard was the location of the Fields Fish, Oyster and Ice Company well into the 1970s. This business was owned and operated for many years by former Sanford Mayor E.W. Fields.

Up next is a building on Market Street that was the long-time home of the Sanford Ice & Coal Company. This business held special importance in the era before home refrigerators and electric heat were commonplace … especially in rural areas.  Owned & operated by Tom & John Salmon, the business covered both bases … ice for cooling and coal for heating. This address is now the home of the Ready Mixed Concrete Company.

Doesn’t this third stop in our tour look like the perfect spot for road food, topped off with some ice cream? Monroe S. Campbell’s Drive-In Griddle, just north of Sanford, was a very popular pit stop for long-distance travelers of US 1, in their journeys along the east coast. This picture is from the mid-to-late 1940s. (Of course local residents loved their frosty treats too!)

In the 1930s, Sanford residents cooled off at the Fairview Dairy Restaurant at 126 Carthage Street. Founder Phil Yarborough started the restaurant as an outgrowth of his Fairview Dairies. In the 1950s & 60s, Lawrence Cheatham operated the restaurant under the name of Larry’s Fine Food. These days, of course, diners can enjoy tasty dishes and a good serving of nostalgia at the Fairview Dairy Bar on Carbonton Road. And the delightful 3-D mural tribute to the Fairview Dairy can be seen at 132 McIver Street.

One of the first places to visit for a cold carbonated beverage in Sanford was the Lee Drug Store. Founded in the late 1920s and located on South Steele Street, the store was operated by Joe Lazarus for much of that time. Joe, pictured here at the soda fountain, passed away in 1974 and the drug store closed in the early 1980s.

Finally, let’s end today’s travels with a stop for some cool of another kind. Here we see Jonesboro residents ice skating on a pond around the 2000 block of Lee Avenue. This picture is from around 1900, when the Tinney Inn was a large nearby hotel.

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.