A City of Sanford employee noticed a covered hole in the ground recently that’s actually more of a window into how trash disposal worked as far back as a century ago.
Bearing a single word – “Majestic” – the hole’s cover conceals what was known as far back as the 1920s as an underground garbage receiver. Families in that time used the receivers to place food waste outside the home in a way that prevented it from becoming too smelly or being accessed by animals or insects (click here for a more in depth look at the history of underground receivers).
Located in Sanford’s Rosemount-McIver Historic District, this receiver is now partially filled with pine straw and other items which have found their way in over the years. Kris Furmage, the facilities/beautification administrator for the city, said when it was initially discovered, workers thought the receiver was possibly a housing for an old water meter before further investigation revealed its true purpose.
“I started working for the city in 2001,” he said. “And I’ve never recalled coming across one of these.”
Liz Whitmore, a city planner who works with the local Historic Preservation Commission, said the plan is to remove the receiver and find a way to preserve it as a piece of the city’s history. For Furmage, there’s another concern as well.
“There’s a safety aspect,” he said. “We don’t to leave it there for someone to step in and break an ankle. And it’s not doing any good where it is, so it probably would be best to pull it out and preserve it.”
For its part, the Majestic Company which manufactured the receiver remains in operation today, although its offerings look a little different now. The Huntington, Indiana-based company now appears to focus on fireplace and gas stove products.
Do you know of any other underground garbage receivers still visible in Sanford? If so, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.