What’s the history behind Sanford’s Venue 1902? We’ve got your answer

“What do you all know about Venue 1902?”

An anonymous reader asked us that question, as part of our exploration of Sanford over the past month. It won the most number of votes from you, our readers, so we’re answering it for you all today:

So what is Venue 1902?

It’s an events space (full name: Venue 1902 at Preservation Hall) that opened in Sanford in 2017 and has hosted business meetings, luncheons and mixers over the years. But it’s become most popular for weddings.  

And what was there before?

The history of Venue 1902 goes all the way back to the year 1902 (hence the name) when the Sanford Grammar School was built. The school was designed by Jacksonville architect Wilbur Talley and is a mostly red-brick building with a bell tower, built to mimic the Romanesque Revival style of architecture.

Over time it was also known as the Sanford High School and in 1984 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In the school’s nomination, it was described as, “both a witness and participant in the great changes of the twentieth century. It was a point of pride in the community that alumni had gone on to Harvard Medical School, West Point, and other prestigious institutions.”

When did the switch happen?

Around the same time that the building got its historic designation, the building stopped actually operating as a school and became a museum. It remained a museum in the following decades until it closed in July 2015.

Then the property went up for sale and stayed on the market for nearly a year until a company approached the Seminole County school district with a plan to convert the museum into an events space.

And so Romulus Holdings bought the building for about $225,000 in 2016 and Venue 1902 opened the following year.

How can people check it out?

You can learn more about Venue 1902 on their website. You can also check out the space at their monthly open houses. Or mark your calendar for their next big public event: an Orlando stop of The Big Fake Wedding going down in October.

By Lance Dixon
Lance is the director for The New Tropic. Send story ideas and/or memes to lance@thenewtropic.com