In 1870 General Henry Shelton Sanford, former Minister to Belgium, purchased 12,535 acres of land and laid out his namesake community. General Sanford arranged for a colony of Swedes to settle the area, work an orange grove and experiment with fruits and flowers from all over the world. The first county fair was held in 1881 on land donated by General Sanford. The Sanford Museum allows visitors to step back in time and visit the family of General Sanford as well as get a glimpse of life in Seminole County in the late 1800s. The museum also portrays special exhibits on local sports history.