Celery City Stories

Celery City Stories

Outlandish Florida Man stories get all the attention, but the Sunshine State’s history is just as entertaining. Celery City Stories explores the incredible history of one of Florida’s oldest cities - Sanford, located in Central Florida. Long before Disney World was created, Sanford’s history goes back almost 200 years and is filled with amazing people who went on to change the world. Whether it’s sports, business, military, civil rights, entertainment, you name it, the city of Sanford’s influence has been felt far and wide. Plus, Seminole County is located in the heart of the Sunshine State, so there are plenty of “it-can-only-happen-in-Florida” type of stories. Dan Ping, host/creator of Celery City Stories, is a journalist who’s been writing about Sanford and Seminole County for more than 20 years.


October 6, 2022 14 min

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In 1887, the city of Sanford was a bustling hub of commerce. Founded just 10 years prior, Sanford had become the gateway for goods and materials coming into Central Florida and Tampa. The city was also the main distribution point that allowed nearly all of Central Florida’s citrus and produce to reach Northern m...

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The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives has a brief 38-second clip of George Starke Jr.'s first day at the University of Florida law school. There is NO sound, but it gives a glimpse of his first day. You can find it here.

Sept. 15, 1958 is significant for the state of Florida, the University of Florida, AND for the city of Sanford. It was on that date that George Starke Jr. became the first Black student adm...

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Lynyrd Skynyrd got its start in Jacksonville, but did you know the band has a connection to the city of Sanford? And a pretty significant one at that.

I mentioned a previous Celery City Stories I published recently. Follow the link to hear “A good wife and a stron martini helped change histor...

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If you like these Celery City Stories and you want me to keep telling them every week then please buy a cup of coffee by following this link.

It was the game football fans had anticipated for weeks. Two powerhouses were set to meet in Atlanta. The crown for Southern football supremacy awaited the winner. (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association)

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide was undefeated, led by a salty defense that ...

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Welcome, I’m glad you joined me. This Celery City Story is the first one I wrote when I thought I might want to start a podcast.

Whenever significant changes in history take place,  there are a series of events - both big and small - that have to occur before the transformation can happen. 

This is a story about a small event that was part of a monumental change

An editor’s no...

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Sometimes it’s the smallest things that lead to the biggest battles. In this case, 6 inches is all it took. 

Thanks to Sanford City Commissioner Patty Mahany and Lisa Finnerty of Porzig Realty for sharing that story with me. They are both active members in the Sanford Woman's Club.

Don't forget, if you have a Celery City Story, I'd love to hear it. You can reach me at Dan@CeleryCityStories.com.

The Sanford Museum has ...

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In 1946, Sanford narrowly avoided a cat-astrophe when Sid decided to go for a stroll in downtown Sanford.

Thanks to Christine Kinlaw-Best who uncovered this gem of a story from the New York Times.

In case you missed it, check out episode 5 - Monkey business at the Sanford fire station creates a zoo -that tells the story about how the Sanford Zoo started.

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Cities the size of Sanford (pop. 61,051) don't normally have their own zoo. It was monkey business at the Sanford Fire Station on Palmetto Avenue that led city leaders to create a zoo in 1925.

I wrote about this a few years ago for my blog, The Bokey.

The fire station where it all began still exists at 109 S Palmetto Ave. Today it's a sports bar called The Station Bar & Grub with an AirBnB upstairs where the firemen used ...

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Forrest Lake was the most powerful man in Seminole County for the first 3 decades of the 1900s. 

In fact, he was the man who created Seminole County. 

How powerful was Forrest Lake?

He was Sanford’s mayor, a state representative and he was the banker that funded much of the development in downtown Sanford that still exists today.

But 95 years ago this week, Forrest Lake’s empire  came crashing down and the city of Sanford was left to c...

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In the 1930s and 40s, Bernard David Lake - better known as Buddy - was the most talked about ballplayer in Sanford.

Buddy never made it to the Major League, but he was no minor talent. Click the button to hear how Buddy almost single-handedly won a baseball game against the Deland Redcaps 75 years ago.

Sanford residents have at least a small connection to Buddy Lake, even if they don't realize it. After his baseball career, he ow...

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Jeno Paulucci was the king of the packaged food business. He made hundreds of millions of dollars selling canned Chinese food, then frozen pizza rolls.

He sold those companies in the 1980s and jumped into the Florida real estate business.

This is the story of how he convinced a major company to build its national headquarters in an untested Seminole County office park named for a London airport. It changed the economic climate in S...

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Disobeying orders should never be done on a whim. Sometimes those, you just need to go with your gut.

Many of the details for this story were taken from the following source:

"Twenty-Five Yards of War: The Extraordinary Courage of Ordinary Men in World War II" by Ronald J. Drez

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June 29, 2022 1 min

Join host Dan Ping as he explores the incredible history of Sanford and Seminole County FL they didn’t teach in school.


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