Vanishing Acts

It’s understandable that our everyday focus is on the here and now. But do you ever allow yourself to pause for a moment to think about the people and places that once dwelled  in the same spot you do?  This week, we encourage you to use your imagination … and we’ll give you a little help. Can you picture what might have gone on in some of these dearly departed Sanford structures, AND envision where they used to stand? Our first image is the legendary McIver’s Store. By many accounts this general store was the area’s first large retail operator. Founded in 1873, McIver’s was located at the corner of Chatham and McIver until it’s demise in 1932.

Another major source of commerce for much of the first half of the 20th century was the James R. Weatherspoon building, established in 1897. Located at the corner of Carthage & Hawkins, this structure was the home of many retailers over the years. Can you imagine a building of this size and magnitude sitting across the street from the current location of the Railroad House in Sanford’s downtown?

Another downtown edifice that may be hard to picture is this home that was owned by the S.D. Jones family. Imagine its location across the street from the present day home of the Temple Theatre. This picture comes from sometime before 1918. It’s hard to believe that a tree-filled lot with a fenced-in yard claimed this spot right on Carthage Street.

Here’s another familiar Sanford lot that has undergone a big transformation over the years. It’s the prime spot at the corner of Carthage and Steele. A private school known as the Sanford Graded School was located here between 1906 and 1925. Once the land was sold, the school was torn down, to be replaced by a gas station.

If you headed down Steele Street to it’s intersection with Summit Avenue, you would have viewed this pleasant home for much of the first half of the 20th century. This residence of Dr. Lynn McIver stood for nearly 50 years, before being torn down in 1960. It’s presently a parking lot for the First Baptist Church.

It looks like we have time for one final stop on this tour of dearly departed buildings. Our travels conclude with a visit to a former location of Sanford’s US Post Office. This Moore Street structure, located in close proximity to the present-day home of the Harris & Company Insurance Agency, served the community with distinction until 1927.

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.