Making New Roads

Happening in the Church

The indebtedness incurred in the construction of the Youth Wing and a new parsonage was paid in full sooner than expected due to the wonderful deeds of two devoted members of the congregation; Mrs. Lavenia Brown and Mrs. Lu Fouser, who left part of their estates to the church.

Burning of the mortgage for the Youth Wing, December 1974


In addition to the laying of the cornerstone on the Youth Wing on February 20, 1966, the parsonage at 1818 Paloma was dedicated. Also in 1965, The Dr. Gardner property on the east side of Magnolia Avenue and the north side to Fifth was purchased. This property has been used as a playground and a parking lot.

Photo on left:L. To R. Mr./Mrs J Harry Stephen, Richard Davy, Dr. Robt. Jenkins, Pastor, Bishop James Henley, Rev. Joe Tolle.  

Right Photo:Dr. Robt. Jenkins, Bishop James Henley, Rev. Joe Tolle, DS


The Florida Methodist Conference became the Florida United Methodist Conference in 1968; therefore, we became the First United Methodist Church of Sanford.

Reverend Leo King was appointed pastor in 1973, a position he would keep until his retirement in 1983. Under the direction of his wife, Rubye, the women of the church created the beautiful Chrismons that still adorn our sanctuary tree each Advent.

The Bride’s Room off the Fifth Street narthex was painted, curtains installed, mirrors hung and appropriate furniture placed in the room for the comfort of the users.

Due to the growth of the membership, we were appointed an associate pastor in 1977. Rev. Scott Harris, who had grown up in our church was our first, followed two years later by Rev. Brett Sanford.

A bequest from the estate of Mrs. Ellalee Kirchhoff, enabled the church to place protective coverings over our stained glass windows and we were able to pay for a new Allen Digital Computer organ upon its installation due to the hard work of the Organ Committee and generous giving by the congregation. Bazaars and other fundraisers allowed the United Methodist Women to purchase new appliances for the kitchen.

Happening in Sanford

In 1958, construction began on a new road project called Interstate 4. Completed initially in 1965 (though perpetually under construction!) it is hard to overstate the impact that I-4 has had on our region.

1965 Photo of I-4 in Downtown Orlando


Local legend surrounds I-4 in the Sanford area. Part of I-4 near the St. John’s River bridge runs over the former site of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Colony. Henry Sanford gave almost 700 acres along the river to German immigrants, who founded the colony. However, in 1887, a Yellow Fever outbreak killed many of the inhabitants and the survivors buried the dead in the forest behind the colony and abandoned the site. “When Florida began buying up land for the construction of a new highway, the field was sold to the state. While the graves were initially marked for relocation, they were either forgotten or deemed unimportant and were paved over.”¹ Soon after, Hurricane Donna passed over that site in 1960. Hurricane Charley took a similar course in 2004, and countless accidents and tragedies that have occurred along this stretch of road are attributed to these graves being disturbed.


Amtrak ad, 1970s

Amtrak began its Auto train service on December 6, 1971. This train is the only one of its kind. Passengers ride either in coach seats or private sleeping car rooms while their vehicles are carried in enclosed automobile-carrying freight cars, called autoracks. The train has a maximum capacity of 320 vehicles. The train also includes lounge cars and dining cars. The train is non-stop between its terminal at Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida. ²



Sanford Zoo on the waterfront, 1940s


On July 4, 1975 “with the support from a group of dedicated citizens, and the donation of a 106-acre piece of land from Seminole County, the Central Florida Zoological Park opened at its current location along Lake Monroe, with Jack Hanna as Director.”³ Previously, animals had been held at the Sanford Fire Department in the 1920s, and along the waterfront in the 1940s. The site of the zoo in the 1940s is the current site of City Hall.


 Happening in the world

1965– U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, outlawing literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices that have been responsible for widespread disfranchisement of African Americans.

1968– Martin Luther King Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities, lasting for several days afterwards.

1971– ‘Fight of the Century’: Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in a 15-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden.

1973– The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction work.

1975– The United Nations proclaims March 8th as International Women’s Day.

  1. Another great articles on this subject: