As noted in the Sanford Herald of March 24, 1996, our church became the setting for a movie, Our Son the Matchmaker, starring Ann Jillian. Various rooms of McKinley Hall were made into office sets and the sanctuary, our choir, and many church members, serving as extras, were also featured.
In 1996, the church was able to employ the Shenandoah Glass Company to complete restoration work on our stained glass windows. Utilizing monies raised by the “Together We Can” capital improvement campaign and donations to the “windows fund”, in lieu of flowers, as requested by the families of Ed Bedell and Tom McDonald at the times of their passing.
June 1997 witnessed the arrival of our first female senior pastor, Elizabeth (Beth) Fogle-Miller along with her family. Loved and admired by many, the appointment was not without challenges for Beth as she led us into a new millennium. Since the Melvins had chosen to purchase their own home, the parsonage on Paloma was sold in March 1997. The parsonage at 170 Oak View Circle in Lake Mary was purchased on December 29, 1997, and continues to serve as our parsonage to date.
Happening in Sanford
In 1995, the Seminole Towne Center Mall opened. The roughly 1.1 million square foot “super-regional” mall has been declining over the years due to anchor stores going out of business. Earlier this year, “A New York mall operator just bought the struggling Seminole Towne Center in Sanford and plans to revitalize it by bringing in new retailers to fill the empty shells left by shuttered department stores… According to a deed recorded in Seminole County, the mall sold for about $52.35 million.” ¹
Movieland Drive-In, a 300-car capacity drive-in theatre which had been in operation since 1950, showed its last film in 1996. As the city expanded south, the once more remote area was now targeted for development. Drive-ins typically were built on the edge of town, just after the end of World War II,” he said. “The population base has now moved to where the drive-ins are and theater owners find themselves sitting on very valuable pieces of land.”²
1998 and 1999 saw the expansion of both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. In April of 1998, Walt Disney World opened Disney’s Animal Kingdom and in May of 1999, Universal opened its adjacent park, Islands of Adventure.
Happenign in the World
1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: 168 people, including 8 Federal Marshals and 19 children, are killed and another 680 were wounded after a bomb was set off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
1996- On July 5, 1996, Dolly the Sheep was the first mammal to be successfully cloned.
1997- The rover Sojourner landed on the surface of Mars on July 4. The rover allowed us to explore our solar system neighbor with cameras and gathering samples of the planet’s soil, air, and rock.
1998- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire breaks baseball’s single-season home run record, formerly held since 1961 by Roger Maris.
1999 –After rowing for 81 days and 5,486 kilometers (2,962 nautical miles), Tori Murden became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat alone, when she reached Guadeloupe from the Canary Islands.
2. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1996-04-26-9604251655-story.html (picture obtained at Sanford historical society Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sanfordhistoricalsociety/posts/3693924624011512