Sanford, just south of the Canadian River in southwestern Hutchinson County, was named for J. M. Sanford, on whose ranch land it was established. It was founded in 1927 as a result of the county's oil boom when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway extended its Amarillo-Liberal line through this area. Sanford was populated largely by boomers and oil company employees. During its first year a post office, a lumber yard, a school, a cafe, and a two-story brick hotel were erected. Though many boomers later moved on to other areas, Sanford became a stable petroleum town. In 1933 Natural Gas Pipeline built what was then the largest compressor station in the world beside the railroad tracks seven miles southwest of Sanford. With further development of the Panhandle oil and gas field came the construction of three carbon black plants (see CARBON BLACK INDUSTRY) around Sanford. In addition, Henderson Trusts and Phillips Petroleum Company built two gasoline refineries there. In the early 1950s, after the carbon black plants were closed, Colorado Interstate Gas Company built its first compressor station at Sanford. In 1940 Sanford had five businesses and a population of sixty. With the advent of Sanford Dam and Lake Meredith in the 1960s, however, Sanford was incorporated and experienced new growth. The Sanford school district merged with that of Fritch in 1961. The 1980 census listed several small businesses in Sanford; the population was 249. In 1990 the population was 218. The population dropped to 203 in 2000.