The city is committed to preserving our historic assets as they are very much a part of the future of our city. Here are some of the current efforts underway:
DeLand House Museum
The DeLand House Museum was built in 1886 for DeLand's first attorney, Arthur George Hamlin, who also developed the Hamlin Orange. Originally a one-and-a-half story structure, the house was built upon land purchased from Henry A. DeLand, the founding father of the City. At the time, the site extended all the way to Woodland Boulevard and had an orange grove from the house to the street.
In 1988, the building was donated to the City of DeLand and is the museum is operated by the West Volusia Historical Society.
The building remains in excellent shape though it has needed routine repairs in recent years. This year, the city spent $55,000 in foundational work and we anticipate spending an additional $94,000 to replace the roof. We anticipate future repairs to preserve this home.
But there is more work to be done and The West Volusia Historical Society is raising funds for repairs, which will include exterior wood damage repairs, window repairs, exterior painting, landscaping, carpentry and wood repair, interior wall prep and plaster repair, wallpaper replacement, flooring repair, light fixture replacement and window treatments.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to save all of the city's history, despite our best efforts.
After seeing multiple owners and promises to restore the structure, the Putnam Hotel fell into utter disrepair and was in danger of collapsing. Its most recent owner, Axia Partners, requested in early 2023 to demolish the structure.
As part of the demolition, the city stipulated that as many as bricks as possible be preserved. A limited number of the bricks were given to the West Volusia Historical Society and have since been clean, sealed and finished with a metal plaque depicting the hotel in its former glory.
The bricks are being given away to individuals donating $50 or more. All proceeds will go toward restoring the JW Wright Building and the DeLand House Museum. For those interested in having a commemorative brick, please call the West Volusia Historical Society at 386-740-6813 or stop by the Historical Society Conrad Center, 137 West Michigan Avenue during operating hours, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
The city is in the process of applying for a grant to update our Historic Site inventory list. The last survey was conducted in 1986.
Historical Tax Exemptions
We are hoping to raise awareness amongst property owners regarding the historical tax exemption. This enables property owners to improve their property and establish them as contributing structures for the city. The exemption allows for up to 100 percent of the assessed value of improvements to be tax exempt.
To qualify, the property must meet all of the following criteria:
Used for commercial purposes or used by a non-profit organization.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places or a contributing property to a National Register Historic District under the terms of a local Ordinance.
Open to the public no less than 1,800 hours per year.
The City of DeLand was designated as a Certified Local Government (CLG) on May 24, 1995 and is one of 83 entities throughout the state with the designation which was enacted as part of the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980. The program links three levels of government -federal, state and local- into a preservation partnership for the identification, evaluation and protection of historic properties.