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Historic Highlights

De Leon Springs State Park

Native people known as the Mayaca lived in the park for at least 6,000 years. Pedro Menendez, the founder of St. Augustine, first described the Mayaca after an encounter with them north of the park in 1566, a year after he founded St. Augustine. In the late 1500s, Spanish missions were established in the area. In the early 1800s, settlers with slaves built sugar and cotton plantations that were sacked by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. By the 1880s the springs had become a winter resort, and tourists were promised “a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur.” The Visitor Center features exhibits on the park’s rich history and artifacts on display from the Mayaca.

De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-4212

DeLand House

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
(386) 740-6813

Enterprise Museum

The building is open to the public – a permanent display space for the extensive collection of historic letters, documents, photos, artifacts and other material owned by The Enterprise Preservation Society. Also included are a 1930’s-era classroom; exhibits on Enterprise history and area ecology, a gallery for local artists, community meeting space, archives and library.

Enterprise Heritage Center
360 Main Street, Enterprise, FL 32725
(407) 701-4377

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
(386) 775-3663

Is Thursby House Haunted?

Rivership Barbara-Lee

The St. Johns Rivership Co. operates the most relaxing cruises on the St. Johns River aboard the Rivership Barbara-Lee, an authentic paddlewheeler. Leaving from Lake Monroe Harbour Marina in downtown Sanford, Florida, the Barbara-Lee serves up food, entertainment and fun alongside the best views of wildlife along the storied St. Johns. The ship has five decks: An open-air top deck, a covered open-air “paddlewheel deck” overlooking the wheels, an enclosed upper deck that seats 60 diners with its own dance floor, a mezzanine deck that seats 40 and the large main salon deck that seats 84 with its stage, dance floor and bar. The enclosed dining areas are climate controlled with air conditioning and heating.

St. Johns River Ship Company
433 North Palmetto Avenue, Sanford, FL 32771
(321) 441-3030

Lake Helen Historic District

Explore one of Florida’s first settlements, which thrived in the 1800s through its dependence on the surrounding citrus groves before the “Big Freeze” of 1896. Today, the town’s 71 historic buildings – designated a U.S. historic district in 1993 – offer a window into the past. The historic district is bounded by W. New York and Euclid Avenues, Lakeview Drive and Park Street.

City of Lake Helen
Lake Helen, Florida 32744
(386) 228-2121

Orange City Historic District

Explore Heritage Inn and the U.S. Postal Museum – among more than 211 historic buildings and three structures in this U.S. Historic District, designated as such in 2004. The historic district is roughly bounded by French, Banana, Carpenter and Orange Avenues.

City of Orange City
205 E. Graves Ave., Orange City FL, 32763
(386) ­490-4606

Orange City Town History

Stetson University

Take a tour of Stetson University, a private, nonprofit university with four colleges and schools located across the I-4 corridor in Central Florida, with the primary undergraduate campus located in DeLand. In the 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s guide to America’s Best Colleges, Stetson ranks third in the category of regional universities and also third in Southern Masters-granting institutions.

Stetson University
421 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32723
(386) 822-7100

Sanford Historic District

Sanford has two historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Commercial Historic District was listed on the National Register in 1976 and has 26 contributing buildings, dating from 1877-1924. The Old Sanford Residential Historic District was listed on the National Register in 1989 and and contains 434 buildings in a wide range of historic architectural styles including Craftsman, Prairie, Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, National, Colonial Revival, Spanish Eclectic, and Mission. Pathways to History is a series of self-guided tours that highlight the history and heritage of Sanford. The tours focus on the City’s development, architecture, African American history, technology, and military/veteran’s history.

Sanford Historic District
230 East First Street, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 302-2586

Pathways to History – Heritage and Cultural Tours | Downtown Commercial Historic District

Downtown DeLand Historic District

The Downtown DeLand Historic District has 68 buildings of historic merit and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to storefront properties, the district includes several churches, an opera house, a theater, two hotels, the county courthouse and residences (now converted to offices), and features an eclectic mix of building styles constructed between 1886 and 1925. DeLand was one of the first Florida cities to participate in the Main Street program in 1985, when work began to revitalize this architectural gem. This success was recognized with a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The area is a lively shopping and dining district, and is also the center of a variety of cultural festivities.

Downtown DeLand Historic District
116 W. New York Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720
(386) 734-0162

Historic Spring Garden Ranch

Founded in 1912 by Frederick Northrup Burt as a cattle and dairy farm, this ranch evolved into a standard-bred horse training facility after 1949. Featuring the oldest barn in Volusia County, Spring Garden Ranch was named to the National Register of Historic Places and exists today as a renowned equestrian center. Currently the largest harness training facility in North America, it has produced world champions, including three Hambletonian and 18 Breeder Crown winners. Famous horses that have wintered at the ranch include world champion Gallo Blue Chip, who was named “Harness Horse of the Year” in 2000, and Triple Crown Winner No Pan Intended. The ranch contains 80 paddocks, 18 barns, 500 stalls and two clay tracks. Other amenities include tack rooms, offices, an RV park, a recreation center and a full-service restaurant overlooking the track. Daily tours and horse-drawn carriage rides are also available.

Historic Spring Garden Ranch
900 Spring Garden Ranch Rd, DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-5654

Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts

Located in Barberville, the Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts is a living history museum and popular heritage tourism site, as well as an adjunct classroom for Volusia County Schools. The Settlement’s variety of historic buildings and architectural styles interpret early Florida settlement through exhibitions of traditional hand tools and domestic wares. The Settlement has a unique hands-on interpretive style with a year-round schedule of special events and festivals. The historic Underhill House, which is the oldest surviving brick house in Volusia County, is also part of the Settlement, purchased through grant funding. The Barberville Central High School building, the settlement’s primary facility, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts
1776 Lightfoot Ln, Barberville, FL 32105
(386) 749-2959

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, founded by George P. Colby in 1894, is listed as a National Register Historic District. It is the oldest religious community of its kind in the Southeastern U.S. Colby told his fellow spiritualists that he was guided by his Indian spirit “Seneca” through the pathless wilds of Florida to the location where he founded the Spiritualist Camp. The Camp consists of 57 acres with 80 historic buildings. Public buildings include Colby Memorial Temple, the Cassadaga Hotel, Harmony Hall, Brigham Hall and Andrew Jackson Davis Hall. Complementing these structures is a quaint collection of “good, comfortable homes” dating to the turn of the century. Construction consists of wood-frame cottages and bungalow dwellings with metal roofs. Narrow cobblestone streets, lined with trees and meditation gardens, enhance the historical experience. People from all over the world come to Cassadaga for its mediums, healers, readings and séances.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp
1112 Stevens St, Lake Helen, FL 32744
(386) 228-3171

All Saints Episcopal Church

One of Volusia County’s oldest churches, All Saints Episcopal Church was completed in 1884 and services were initially held in the parlor of a local resort, The Brock House, located on the shore of Lake Monroe. Reverend Samuel Carpenter, a local vicar, rowed across the lake to hold services. The sanctuary is constructed in the Carpenter Gothic style, using mostly hard pine and cypress. It was saved from demolition by Bishop Henry Irving Louttit in the late 1940s after suffering hurricane damage. In 1974, All Saints attained parish status from the Diocese of Central Florida, with Father Pugh as the first rector. The church remains largely in its original state, except for a few modern improvements, including the front porch and back sacristy. In May 1974, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

All Saints Episcopal Church
155 Clark Street, Enterprise, FL
(386) 668-4108

Osteen WWI Monument

Inscribed with the words “Erected by the citizens of Osteen in memory of her heroes of the World War,” this monument stands on the east side of SR 415, just north of Railroad Avenue. Thought to have been created in the 1920s when Osteen was incorporated, this monument lists nine names, many of them representing the area’s pioneer families. Two names on the stone’s south face honor men who died in World War I, while seven on the north face recognize those who served and were discharged at the war’s end. One of the latter is Harry A. Osteen, grandson of Hezekiah Osteen, a founder of the community that bears his name.

Osteen WWI Monument
Just off of 415 and New Smyrna Blvd, Osteen, FL
28.847077, -81.162199

Museum of Seminole County History

Located in Sanford, the museum has 22 rooms of exhibits on Native Americans, early settlers and families, Seminole County history and special exhibits and events.

Museum of Seminole County History, Sanford
300 Bush Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773
(407) 665-2489

Seville Community Resource Center

This community center in Seville features tours, a gym, a playground and a large majestic oak tree that is the perfect picnic setting. It is also home to the Historic Seville School House, which was established in 1914.

Seville Community Resource Center
1591 N. Highway 17, Seville, 32190
(386) 747-2062

Spring Garden Ranch & Restaurant

Home of North America’s largest Standard bred Horse Training Center. The Ranch was founded in 1912 by Frederick Northrup Burt, from Buffalo, New York. The training facility has produced 18 Breeder Crown winners and 3 Hambletonian winners. This is a great place to watch harness racing right here in Florida. The facility houses numerous horses and draws big crowds for its main events in March and November.

Spring Garden Ranch
900 Spring Garden Ranch Rd., DeLeon Springs , FL 32130
(386) 985-5654

DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum

DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum, is part of a complex of museums that include the Deland House, the Conrad Antique Toy Museum, and the Hospital Museum. Located at the Bill Dreggors Park and Freedom Playground on Stone St. the Hospital Museum includes the old historic Hospital Building, a Pharmacy Display, and Electrical Display & Veterans Museum.

DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum
230 N. Stone Street, DeLand, FL 32720
(386) 740-5800

DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum – West Volusia Historical Society

1876 Heritage Inn in Orange City

The historic 1876 Heritage Inn is the oldest operating hotel in Volusia County and one of the oldest in the State of Florida. Some of the historic rooms still have the original board and batten walls and wood floors.  This hotel also houses the Post Office Museum.  Walk inside a recreated Post Office from the 1940s. Visitors will see various artifacts, paperwork, books, forms, and clothing used over fifty years ago. Explore the 80 foot hallway lined with over 100 shadow boxes full of postal memorabilia.

1876 Heritage Inn
300 S. Volusia Ave., Orange City, FL 32763
(386) 774-8849

Seminole Rest Trail & Historic Buildings

Seminole Rest, a pre-historical and interpretive park that is part of the Canaveral National Seashore managed by the National Park Service, is located in the City of Oak Hill off River Road and adjacent to the Mosquito Lagoon. Seminole Rest is an opportunity to step back in time and walk among prehistoric shell mounds dating from 2,000 B.C. to 1565 A.D. – providing a look into the lives of the Timucuan and Ais Indians who once inhabited this part of Florida. These shell mounds were formed as the Indians seasonally settled along the Mosquito Lagoon, where they would gather and process clams, oysters and fish as part of their food supply. Within these communities, the women and children were responsible for collecting and processing the clams, while the men fished, hunted larger animals and protected their families. The largest mound, Snyder’s Mound, is unique because few of its size remain intact today. In the late 1800s, two homes were built on the mounds to help protect them.

Seminole Rest is located on the Mosquito Lagoon at the eastern tip of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor.  There are two historic buildings on site, including the Instone House, a plantation home built before the 1890s, and a caretaker’s cottage of a similar vintage. The interpretive trail follows the shoreline and then loops around the buildings to parallel a mangrove-lined slough on the return trip. It’s directly across from Eldora Hammock in the main portion of the National Seashore.

Seminole Rest
River Rd, Oak Hill, FL 32759
(386) 345-1997

Canaveral National Seashore Visitor Information Center
(386) 428-3384 ext. 10

For more heritage and history  along the corridorClick Here