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DeLand, Florida
City of DeLand
Downtown DeLand
Downtown DeLand
Official seal of DeLand, Florida
Seal
Nickname(s): 
"The Athens of Florida"
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
Country United States
State Florida
County Volusia
Founded 1876
Incorporated 1882
Founded by Henry Addison DeLand
Government
 • Type Council–Manager
Area
 • Total 19.50 sq mi (50.52 km2)
 • Land 19.28 sq mi (49.93 km2)
 • Water 0.23 sq mi (0.59 km2)
Elevation
36 ft (11 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 37,351
 • Density 1,937.49/sq mi (748.06/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST)9)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
32720–32724
Area code(s) 386
FIPS code 12-16875
GNIS feature ID 0281473

DeLand is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Volusia County. The city sits approximately 34 miles (55 km) north of the central business district of Orlando, and approximately 23 miles (37 km) west of the central business district of Daytona Beach. As of the 2020 census, the population was 37,351. It is a part of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach metropolitan area, which was home to 590,289 people as of the 2010 census.

The city was founded in 1876, and was named for its founder, Henry Addison DeLand. DeLand is home to Stetson University, Florida's oldest private college, as well as the Museum of Art - DeLand. The DeLand Municipal Airport serves as an uncontrolled general aviation reliever airport to commercial operations at Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) and Orlando International Airport (MCO).

History

Known as Persimmon Hollow for the wild persimmon trees that grow around the natural springs, the area was originally accessible only by steamboat up the St. Johns River. It was settled in 1874 by Captain John Rich, who built a log cabin. Henry Addison DeLand, a baking soda magnate from Fairport, New York, visited there in 1876, and envisioned building a citrus, agricultural and tourism center. That year he bought land and founded the town, naming it after himself. He sold his northern business and hired people to clear land, lay out streets, erect buildings and recruit settlers, most of whom came from upstate New York (however, he never lived in the city year-round.) The City of DeLand was officially incorporated in 1882, and became the county seat of Volusia County in 1887. It was the first city in Florida to have electricity.

In 1877 Henry A. DeLand built a public school for the town. To enhance the community's stature and culture, and to enhance the value of his local real estate holdings, in 1883 Henry A. DeLand established DeLand Academy, Florida's first private college. However, in 1885, a freeze destroyed the orange crop. One story has it that DeLand had guaranteed settlers' investments as an inducement to relocate, and so was obligated to buy back their ruined groves, though there is no hard evidence that this actually happened. Like many other would-be real estate magnates in the area at the time, his Florida investments were nearly worthless after the freeze, and he returned to his home in the North. DeLand entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson, a wealthy hat manufacturer from Philadelphia and one of the institution's founding trustees. In 1889, it was renamed John B. Stetson University in its patron's honor. In 1900 it founded the first law school in Florida (relocated to Gulfport in 1954). Its various sports teams are called the Hatters.

During the 1920s Florida Land Boom, DeLand's streets filled with fine examples of stucco Mediterranean Revival architecture by native architect Medwin Peek and others, many of which have been handsomely restored, one being the recently reopened Athens Theatre.

Since 1992, the city has hosted the DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, a two-day event in the historic downtown area. As of 2009, the event has an annual attendance of more than 50,000 over the weekend immediately prior to Thanksgiving each year.

Geography

Topography

DeLand is located at 29°1′44″N 81°18′2″W / 29.02889°N 81.30056°W / 29.02889; -81.30056, approximately halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.8 square miles (46.1 km2), of which 17.6 square miles (45.6 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 1.06%, is water. DeLand is drained by the St. Johns River.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,113
1900 1,449 30.2%
1910 2,812 94.1%
1920 3,324 18.2%
1930 5,246 57.8%
1940 7,041 34.2%
1950 8,652 22.9%
1960 10,775 24.5%
1970 11,641 8.0%
1980 15,354 31.9%
1990 16,491 7.4%
2000 20,904 26.8%
2010 27,031 29.3%
2020 37,351 38.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Dog Parade in Deland
Annual Dog Parade

As of the census of 2013, there were 28,237 people, 9,950 households, and 4,631 families residing in the city. The population density was 1317.1/mi2 (506.8/km2). There were 9,272 housing units at an average density of 584.2 per square mile (225.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.96% White, 19.18% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 3.00% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.73% of the population.

There were 8,375 households, out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 37.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out, with 20.7% under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,712, and the median income for a family was $35,329. Males had a median income of $26,389 versus $20,114 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,936. About 14.2% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.

Volusia County Courthouse
Old Volusia County Courthouse DeLand

Historic districts

Downtown DeLand Hist Dist - Athens Theatre
Athens Theater, built in 1921
New York Avenue, DeLand, FL
New York Avenue in 1905
DeLand Hall on Stetson U campus2
DeLand Hall, built in 1884

Downtown DeLand's main street, Woodland Boulevard, has a number of notable 19th-century buildings. It is officially known as Downtown DeLand Historic District.

The Garden District is a mixed-use neighborhood adjacent to downtown DeLand, which is officially known as Downtown DeLand's Historic Garden District. The neighborhood was originally developed between 1900 and 1920. It fell into a long period of decline after World War II, and by the 1980s had become blighted.

In 2001, Michael E. Arth, a California artist, urban designer and filmmaker, bought twenty-seven dilapidated structures, renamed the area the Garden District, and lobbied to create a new historic district. During the following eight years he restored or rebuilt 32 homes and businesses, which have become the core of a neighborhood revival. A feature-length documentary film, New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism, tells the story of DeLand and the Garden District. The film premiered in DeLand in January 2009 at the newly restored Athens Theatre. Previously, the film had appeared in seven film festivals and received the Audience Choice Award at the Real to Reel International Film Festival in 2008.

Sports and recreation

DeLand hosts all home games for Stetson University Hatters athletic teams. The men's and women's basketball teams play at the J. Ollie Edmunds Center, an on-campus arena which opened in 1974 and seats approximately 5,000 spectators.

The Hatters baseball team plays at Melching Field at Conrad Park, a 2,500-seat ballpark located off campus just south of downtown DeLand. Melching Field was built in 1999 and is recognized as one of the finer college baseball venues in the NCAA, having hosted numerous Atlantic Sun Conference championships, the 2018 NCAA Baseball Regionals, and other baseball related tournaments and events. Prior to the opening of Melching Field, the Hatters played at old Conrad Park on the same site, which also hosted spring training games in the 1940s and 1950s and the DeLand Red Hats, a Florida State League minor league franchise.

Adjacent to Melching Field is Spec Martin Stadium, a 6,000-seat football stadium. Spec Martin Stadium hosts DeLand High School Bulldog football and soccer games, and serves as home of the Stetson University Hatters football team. Stetson had discontinued its football program in the early 1960s, but reinstated the sport in 2013, when it joined the Pioneer Football League. As part of Stetson's re-entry into college football, Spec Martin Stadium underwent significant renovations, including a new press box, handicapped and premium seating areas, and new locker room facilities.

DeLand has been called the "skydiving capital of the world", with the majority of skydiving industries calling it home. The skydiving industry employs over 500 workers from the DeLand area. This in combination with the tourist end of the industry makes it one of the town's largest supporters and invaluable to the local economy.

The Central Florida Warriors of the USA Rugby League are based in DeLand.

In the movies

DeLand has been the filming location for a number of television and movie projects, including the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy The Waterboy. Scenes showing the fictional South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs home football games were shot at Spec Martin Stadium. Classroom and exterior scenes were filmed at Stetson University. Scenes involving Sandler's character's home were actually filmed in neighboring DeBary. Ghost Story, starring Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Craig Wasson, was filmed in part at Stetson University and the Holiday House.

The HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon filmed several scenes on the campus of Stetson University. The 1999 independent film The First of May, starring Mickey Rooney and Joe DiMaggio, was shot on various locations throughout DeLand. Days of Thunder, starring Tom Cruise, was also partially filmed in DeLand.

New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism (2008) was filmed almost entirely in DeLand in 2006 and 2007.

Walt Before Mickey filmed several scenes at the Stetson University campus in 2014.

Sites of interest

  • Alexander Haynes House
  • Athens Theatre
  • Chief Master at Arms House
  • DeLand Hall
  • DeLand Municipal Airport
  • Downtown DeLand Historic District
  • John B. Stetson House
  • Kilkoff House
  • Museum of Art - DeLand
  • Old DeLand Memorial Hospital
  • Stetson University Campus Historic District
  • Stockton-Lindquist House
  • Volusia County Fair and Expo Center
  • Volusia Speedway Park
  • West Volusia Historical Society & Museum

Transportation

Rail and public transportation

Deland Amtrak front02
DeLand Amtrak Station

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, serves DeLand, operating its Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains daily in both directions between Miami and New York City. The line is primarily CSX's Sanford Subdivision. It also contains a spur leading from the station which was built by the Orange Ridge, DeLand and Atlantic Railroad and has received passenger service in the past.

Local transit service is provided by VOTRAN on the #20 and #60 routes.

Aviation

During World War II, the Babcock Airplane Corporation manufactured 60 Waco CG-4 assault gliders at DeLand, but the firm was out of business by 1945.

The DeLand Municipal Airport (a.k.a.; Sidney H. Taylor Field) still operates as a general aviation airport as well as a reliever airport for Orlando and Daytona Beach. It also contains the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum.

Roads

  • The major US highways through DeLand are US 17 (hidden SR 15) and 92 (hidden SR 600), which overlap each other from Lake Alfred in Polk County to the northern part of the city. From here, US 92 turns east onto International Speedway Boulevard toward Daytona Beach, while US 17 continues north towards Barberville, Jacksonville, and along the coast of Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia.
  • The main west-to-east state highway in DeLand is Florida State Road 44 which runs along New York Avenue. SR 44 intersects US 17/92 in Downtown DeLand but making turns at the intersection is prohibited. Access between the two road requires taking side roads within the vicinity.
  • Florida State Road 15A is an alternate route of SR 15, one of the two hidden state roads along US 17 and 92. It runs along the west side of the city, and also serves as an undesignated truck bypass for US 17/92, as well as SR 44. North of International Speedway Boulevard (Volusia CR 92) and the city line, it is strictly a truck detour for US 17.

Economy

Shopping

  • Victoria Park Village Shopping Center
  • Brandywine Shopping Center
  • DeLand Flea Market
  • DeLand Plaza Shopping Center
  • Northgate Shopping Center
  • Woodland Plaza
  • West Volusia Regional Shopping Center

Businesses

  • Mystic Powerboats

Education

Public primary and secondary education is handled by Volusia County Schools.

Elementary schools

  • Saint Peters Catholic School
  • Blue Lake Elementary
  • Freedom Elementary
  • George W. Marks Elementary
  • Edith I. Starke Elementary
  • Woodward Avenue Elementary
  • Citrus Grove Elementary
  • Saint Barnabas Episcopal School
  • Children's House Montessori School
  • Casa Montessori School

Middle schools

  • DeLand Middle School
  • Southwestern Middle School
  • Saint Barnabas Episcopal School
  • Saint Peters Catholic School

High schools

  • DeLand High School

Colleges and universities

Sister Cities

  • Belén (canton)

Notable people

  • Horace Allen, baseball player
  • Byllye Avery, health care activist
  • Charles P. Bailey (pilot), former U.S. Army Air Force officer, Tuskegee Airman
  • R. H. Barlow, author, poet, anthropologist, and historian
  • Bill Booth, skydiving engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur
  • David Cohen, CEO and founder of TechStars
  • Joyce Cusack, Florida politician and retired registered nurse
  • Terence Trent D'Arby, singer-songwriter
  • Jacob deGrom, All-Star baseball pitcher, New York Mets
  • Paul Dicken, baseball player
  • R. Buckminster Fuller, world-renowned 20th-century inventor, mathematician and futurist, inventor of the geodesic dome, coined the phrase "Spaceship Earth"
  • Mike Gillislee, football player
  • Lue Gim Gong, horticulturalist
  • Bridgette Gordon, basketball player
  • Stephen Guarino, actor and comedian
  • Ed Hickox, umpire
  • Burling Hull, magician
  • Carolyn J. B. Howard, politician
  • Craig T. James, congressman
  • Arthur Jones, inventor
  • Chipper Jones, Hall of Fame baseball player
  • Danny Kelley, racing driver
  • Kitty, musician and rapper
  • J. C. Van Landingham, NASCAR driver
  • Gary Russell Libby, art historian, curator, and director emeritus of Museum of Arts and Sciences
  • Vincent Martella, actor
  • Jack Ness, baseball player
  • Medwin Peek, Mediterranean Revival architect
  • Luke Scott, baseball player
  • Frances Shimer, founder of Shimer College in Illinois
  • Maurice Starr, musical entrepreneur New Edition, New Kids on the Block
  • John Batterson Stetson, hat manufacturer
  • Tra Thomas, football player
  • William Amory Underhill, public servant
  • Noble "Thin Man" Watts, musician
  • Luke Weaver, baseball pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Verner Moore White, artist
  • Earl Ziebarth, state representative
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