Sanford gets its name from C.O. Sanford, who was a railroad engineer that played an important part in the construction of the rail lines that would later become Sanford's foundation. When Lee County formed in 1907 from parts of the three surrounding counties, the county courthouse was built directly between Sanford and Jonesboro, which were the area's two major towns. For a long time, Lee County's courthouse was the only one in the country to have a rural address. By the late 1900s, Sanford had grown and developed so much that Jonesboro eventually joined it to make one large city.
Sanford offers a wide range of educational opportunities to cater to the needs of all types of students and families. The Lee County school system includes six public elementary schools, three public middle schools, and three public high schools. If you prefer something private or nonsecular, Sanford has two private Christian schools teach preschool through twelfth grade and the Montessori School of Sanford teaches preschool through fifth grade. Warren Williams Child Development Center has been ranked as one of the best preschools in North Carolina, and for graduates, the accredited Central Carolina Community College has a campus right in the city.