Sanford (population 30,000) is located in the central Piedmont area of North Carolina, occupying the gently rolling hills of the state, which are flanked on each side by the mountain region of the west and the coastal area of the east. Several rivers and streams lace the region, providing opportunities for successful cash crops (primarily tobacco) and recreational facilities for activities such as waterskiing, camping, and hiking.
Since its incorporation in 1874, Sanford has been an active railroad and industrial center, known as one of the nation's largest producers of brick and pottery products.
The Downtown Sanford Historic District is located in the geographical center of the city about 370 feet above sea level and is considered the major retail center of the city, county, and much of the surrounding area. Its 96 structures occupy an area of approximately 36 acres, roughly bounded by Gordon Street on the north, Chatham Street on the east, Cole Street on the south, and Horner Boulevard on the west.