This section features historical museums, but we have more museums in our Museums & Galleries section of the site which feature fine art, geological displays, and more.
Historic Homes and Mansions
DeBary Hall Historic Site
This site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1871 by New York wine importer Frederick DeBary as a seasonal hunting estate to offer family guests hospitality and fun on the Florida frontier. The original estate consisted of 9,000 acres and was planted with orange groves and pecan trees. It also boasted Floridaâ€™s first swimming pool and had a private airstrip and airplane hangar. DeBary wintered here until his death in 1898. Now owned by the State of Florida and leased by the County of Volusia,DeBary Hall is fully restored with period furnishings and filled with award-winning exhibits and interactive programs.
DeBary Hall Historic Site
198 Sunrise Blvd, DeBary, FL 32713
The Thursby House at Blue Spring State Park
In 1856, Louis P. Thursby and his family settled the area adjacent to Blue Spring. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing. Shortly after his arrival, Thursby constructed one of the first steamboat landings and planted one of the first orange groves on the upper St. Johns River. The house was once a two-story structure built from three kinds of center-cut pine that had been milled in Savannah, Ga., and transported by boat to the site. It is a National Register of Historic Places. Louis P. Thursby and his family settled on the inlet to Blue Springs, on the St. Johns River in 1856. Shortly after his arrival, he constructed one of the first steamboat landings and planted one of the first orange groves on the upper St. Johns River. His first residence was a log cabin that he built.
Blue Spring State Park
2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32713
Tour Floridaâ€™s first luxury home, often considered the grandest built in Florida during the 19th century. When completed in 1886 as the winter retreat of famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson, this home was the only â€œGilded Ageâ€ estate in Florida. The Stetsons were known for hosting magnificent parties for elite, influential citizens of Americaâ€™s most prosperous era. Henry Flagler built a private railway spur to the Stetson estate, enabling delivery of the finest architectural materials. Tour Hours: Marchâ€“July, Tuesday and Thursday only at 10:30 a.m. Admission: $20 regular tour; $30 grand tour. Cash only. Reservations required. Email your time/date request to: StetsonMansion@hotmail.com. Gates open 25 minutes before the start of each tour. Regular tours last an hour; grand tours are an hour and a half. No high heels, please!
1031 Camphor Ln, DeLand, FL 32720
For more than 40 years, the West Volusia Historical Society has actively pursued its mission of collecting, recording, storing, protecting, interpreting and sharing with others the physical and cultural heritage of West Volusia County. The Society currently operates two historical museums, the Henry A. DeLand House and DeLand Memorial Hospital, and the Robert M. Conrad Education and Research Center, an archive/library and educational programming center. Its educational programs and special events range from DVDs about St. Johns riverboats and horticulturist Lue Gim Gong to ECHO Rangers for children and the Oakdale Cemetery History Walk.
The Henry A. DeLand House Museum was built in 1886 by the founding father of the City, Henry Addison DeLand, a native of New York. The house and property was purchased in 1895 by DeLand’s first attorney, Arthur George Hamlin, who also developed the Hamlin Orange. Originally, the house was a one-and-a-half story structure with land that extended all the way to Woodland Boulevard, and had an orange grove from the house to the street.
DeLand House/ West Volusia Historical Society
137 W. Michigan Avenue, DeLand, Florida 32720