DeLand is located in Volusia County, Florida and is home to about 25,000 people. DeLand is part of the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is known for its beautiful, historic architecture in the downtown area. DeLand is home to Stetson University and The Museum of Art. Enjoy this video featuring highlights in West Volusia County
DeLand was first settled by Captain John Rich in 1874. Henry A. DeLand visited in 1876, envisioning a citrus, agricultural, and tourism center. That same year he bought land in the area and named the town after himself. DeLand was incorporated in 1882 and became county seat in 1887. Henry A. DeLand started DeLand Academy, Florida’s first private college in 1883 in hopes to enhance the community’s stature. Orange crops froze in 1885, and DeLand had guaranteed all the land he sold as incentives, so in turn he had to buy all the ruined land back. DeLand was forced to move back north, so he entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson. The academy was renamed John B. Stetson University in 1889.
A major development and boon to the prosperity of the DeLand area was the construction of roads. In 1916, many roads were bricked. The following year, a road was built to connect DeLand, Daytona and New Smyrna. In 1960, International Speedway was rebuilt with four lanes going to Daytona.
In the 1920's, DeLand experienced the same increase in prosperity as much of the rest of the country. DeLand had its first tremendous growth spurt, both in population and building. A new style of Mediterranean architecture was seen. Subdivisions were opened all over the area and sidewalks were installed downtown. The city limits were expanded west to the river, but ceased during the Great Depression. During World War II, the Navy built a naval airbase in DeLand. The Navy turned the airbase over to the city of DeLand in 1946. It is now the municipal airport.
The City of DeLand Parks and Recreation Department's administrative offices and facilities includes the Bert Fish Room, the Operating Room and Apothecary Exhibit, the Veterans Gallery, and the Ice and Electric Exhibit. Behind the building is the Veterans Memorial Wall, the Lemon Room and the Burgess Building housing the Hawtense Conrad Elephant Fantasyland, the West Volusia Black Heritage Gallery and Conrad's Toyland. Here you can also visit Freedom Playground and Bill Dreggors Park that features a Sensory Garden.
Bill Dreggors Park
Bill Dreggors Park is on the National Register of Historic Places. Ir was dedicated and named for William J. “Bill” Dreggors, Jr. Dreggors is known throughout Florida for his work in historic preservation and his extensive knowledge of the area's history. Here you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the Sensory Butterfly Garden, which was created for the visually and physically challenged. Selected plants offer easily sensed characteristics such as scent, color, texture, taste and touch. At Bill Dreggors Park you can also enjoy a paved walking or jogging path and Freedom Playground.
Earl Brown Park
Earl Brown Park features a one-mile walking or jogging trail, picnic pavilions, a duck pond, and a skateboard and bike park.
This figure paved walking trail winds around a pond past some local artwork painted on a retaining wall.
DeLand offers year-round entertainment, perfect for everyone in the family. The city hosts festivals, tours, parades, dances, fairs, jamborees, shows and other special events to celebrate its rich and colorful heritage and beautiful natural surroundings.
Stephen Danko Art Exhibit
Stephen Danko taught and gave workshops around the country, including Tyler School of Art, Chicago Art Institute, California State University – Fullerton and the University of California – Santa Barbara. Danko also worked in major museums and galleries. Over the years he collected photography, contemporary and folk art. He has had studios in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Cologne, Germany. He participated in over fifty group and ten solo exhibitions, and was included in many public and private collections. Since 1995, Stephen Danko maintained a studio in DeLand, working on a series based on Florida themes.
Deland: Art Exhibit - “Florida’s Lost Tribes”
“Florida’s Lost Tribes” showcases the art of Theodore Morris. With researched detail, Morris chronicles Native Americans who lived in Florida as many as 12,000 years ago.
Annual Great Bowls of Fire: CASI Florida State Chili Championship Cook-off
The West Volusia Historical Society and Main Street DeLand Association, Inc. are teaming up to bring the “Hottest Event in Town”. This festive, family event draws competitors and visitors from all over the United States. The competition will be sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) and the chili cooks vie for trophies, bragging rights and CASI points to use for entry into the Terlingua International Championship Chili competition held annually in Texas.
DeLand is home to many educational and fun attractions that are fun and exciting for everyone in the family. Come visit the African American Museum of the Arts or the Gillespie Museum of Minerals.
African American Museum of the Arts
The African American Museum of the Arts is a non-profit arts facility dedicated to providing artistic excellence that reflects primarily the culture of African Americans and Caribbean Americans. The museum is also dedicated to providing opportunities in the fields of visual, literary and performing arts while encouraging interaction with community members through on-site and outreach exhibitions, presentations and performances.
Museum of Art
The Museum of Florida Art offers exhibitions, educational programs, and outreaches to engage children, youth, adults, seniors and families in the experience of the visual arts. The Museum is committed to providing an exhibition venue for emerging and establishing Florida artists, arts education for youth and adults, interpretive art experiences, public art offerings and partnership programming.
The Sands Theater Center at the Cultural Arts Center
The Sands Theater Center is a performing arts company focused on providing quality entertainment, cultural enrichment and educational programming. For the past 22 years, The Sands Theater Center has provided countless opportunities to involve and integrate the talents of our diverse community, creating dynamic events in which everyone in West Volusia can take part.
Gillespie Museum of Minerals
The Gillespie Museum is home to one of the largest gem and mineral collections in the southeast. In addition to educational programs, the museum also offers many exciting exhibits and collections.