DeLand, Florida “The Athens of Florida”

A Brief History on the Founding of DeLand, Florida

The county seat of Volusia county the city sits approximately 30 miles north of the central business district of Orlando and 23 miles west of the central business district of Daytona Beach. Founded in 1876 by Henry DeLand, DeLand is home to Stetson University, Florida’s oldest private college.

Originally known as Persimmon Hollow thanks to the persimmon trees that grow around the natural springs, DeLand was once only accessible by steam boat up the St. Johns River. Henry DeLand visited the area in the year 1876 and envisioned a thriving citrus, agricultural and tourism center. He ended up buying the land later that year and named the town after himself.

DeLand became officially incorporated in 1882 and became the county seat in 1887. It was also the first town in Florida to have electricity. The Gould family business being at the forefront of this movement being one of the first businesses in town to have electricity and the first to have air conditioning.

The Gould family moved to the DeLand area in 1885. V.W. Gould Senior was one of DeLand’s foremost historians and it is through his early efforts that much of the history of DeLand has been preserved. He was also a prolific writer of DeLand and West Volusia history as he published articles in varying magazines and newspapers that were circulated across the State of Florida. He served for many years as the Chairman of the Volusia County School Board and was an early member of the City Council. He was the first president and founding member of the West Volusia Association of Realtors. V.W. Gould Senior played a large role in developing the town to what it is today.

Downtown Deland Historic District

Downtown DeLand’s Mainstreet is known for its many notable 19th century buildings. It is known as a US historic district and contains 68 historic buildings.

Some of the building styles in this historic district include but are not limited to, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Frame and Masonry Vernacular, Mediterranean Revival, Mission, and Prairie.

One of the 68 historic buildings in the Downtown DeLand Historic District include the Gould Building.