Sanger, on Interstate Highway 35 ten miles north of Denton in north central Denton County, was founded in 1886 as a stop on the Santa Fe Railroad. Cattle from the ranches of north Denton County had been driven up the old cattle trails through the site of Sanger to northern markets. The cattle industry of the prairies of north Denton County contributed to the founding of the town, and wheat-growing contributed substantially to its economy. Sanger was named by the Santa Fe in honor of one of its customers, the Sanger family, who owned stores in Waco and Dallas (see SANGER, ALEXANDER). The town was laid out on land owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Huling. Lots were sold. The F. M. Ready family, the first to settle in Sanger, came in October 1887, the same year as the first engine and caboose.
Sanger was originally dependent on the railroad as a link to markets. Following the decline of the original line, the building of a state highway that connected Sanger and Dallas helped compensate for the declining rail business. The road was begun in 1919 and reached Sanger in 1920. The black, waxy soil of the area grows wheat, oats, maize, millet, and cotton. Cattle and other livestock are raised around Sanger, and there are several horse farms for the breeding and training of registered stock. In the 1980s Sanger had ten churches and forty-eight businesses. Its utilities were municipally owned except for the gas and telephone companies. The town had a community center, two parks, a public library, and a weekly newspaper. Lake Ray Roberts is four miles to the east. The population in 1980 was 2,574, an increase of 60.6 percent since 1970. This rapid growth resulted from the town's proximity to Denton. Bank equipment, plastic molding, paper products, fertilizer spreaders, sheet metal, toilet compartments, and cabinets are manufactured in Sanger. In 1990 the population was 3,508. The population grew to 4,534 in 2000.