History Happened Here

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Deltona

Volusia County

Year Founded: 1995

History

The first inhabitants of southwest Volusia County were Nomadic Timucuans who found fish and fresh water plentiful in the area. After Florida became a state in 1845, steamboats began to make regular trips up the St. Johns River to Lake Monroe.

Visitors and residents poured into the State, and a community grew up on the shores of Lake Monroe at the steamboat landing. Called Enterprise, the little town soon boasted a schoolhouse (built in 1863) and two churches.

At about the same time the Baron Frederick DeBary, New York agent for Mumm’s Champagne, arrived in the area. He bought several hundred acres near Enterprise to use as a hunting and fishing preserve. In 1871, DeBary built a winter home where he entertained such notables as Presidents Grant and Cleveland and members of Europe’s royalty. Baron DeBary died in 1898 at the age of 84. The DeBary Mansion is currently undergoing restoration.

In 1908, the Florida Methodist United Children’s Home was founded. It continues to care for over 50 children to this day.

Things were rather quiet in southwestern Volusia from those early years of the century until 1962, when the Mackle Brothers brought 17,203 acres, filed a planned unit development for a community of 35,143 lots, and named the area Deltona. Work began almost immediately, and the first Deltonans took up residence in April of 1963. By the end of that year, Deltona had a population of 180 people comprising 78 families. School bus service was started, and construction began on a golf course. In 1970, the U.S. Census recorded 4,868 inhabitants; by 1980, Deltona’s population was 15,710. The growth of the community continued at the amazing rate of about 130 new families per month to reach more than 52,000 people in 1991.

Story of City's Founding

Things were rather quiet in southwestern Volusia from those early years of the century until 1962, when the Mackle Brothers brought 17,203 acres, filed a planned unit development for a community of 35,143 lots, and named the area Deltona. Work began almost immediately, and the first Deltonans took up residence in April of 1963. By the end of that year, Deltona had a population of 180 people comprising 78 families. School bus service was started, and construction began on a golf course. In 1970, the U.S. Census recorded 4,868 inhabitants; by 1980, Deltona's population was 15,710. The growth of the community continued at the amazing rate of about 130 new families per month to reach more than 52,000 people in 1991. The residents of the unincorporated Deltona community voted in September 1995, to incorporate as the new City of Deltona. The third attempt appeared to be Deltona's lucky charm; two previous incorporation attempts in 1987 and 1990 failed. A seven-member Commission was elected and as of December 31, 1995, the City of Deltona became official. As part of the referendum for incorporation, the existing Deltona Fire District was dissolved and on its first day of Cityhood, Deltona had over 50 employees including firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency response personnel. The newly elected City Commission appointed an Interim City Manager, Interim Finance Director and Interim City Attorney. In July 1996, the City Commission hired its first full-time City Manager, Harold Emrich, and first City Attorney, James "Skip" Fowler. The City has grown to over 300 employees which work in the City Manager's Office, the City Attorney's Office, the City Clerk's Office, Budget & Financial Services, Building & Zoning Services, Planning & Development Services, Enforcement Services, Parks & Recreation, Public Works & Utilities, Human Resources and the Fire & Rescue Department. The City continues to contract with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department via an interlocal agreement for law enforcement services in the City. On November 7, 2003, the City realized a long-term goal of owning its own utility. The City purchased the Deltona water and wastewater system from Florida Water Services after two years of negotiations. This purchased encompassed hiring of 32 former Florida Water Services’ employees and the acquisition of all Florida Water Services’ assets in the Deltona system. Deltona Water is now in full operation. With a current population of 85,182, Deltona is the largest municipality within Volusia County. Centrally located between Daytona Beach and Orlando, Deltona provides a large residential base for commuters to both cities. The City of Deltona, under the direction of its City Commission, top-notch staff, and more than 300 dedicated employees, is thriving. Deltona is a major voice in Volusia County while providing quality municipal services to its residents.

Little Known Facts

Historical Sites

Name: Veterans Park & Museum
Location: 1921 Evard Ave.
Historical Significance: Veteran’s Museum and Park contains a plethora of artifacts from all wars and conflicts the United States has participated in included shells from the U.S.S. Missouri, a Howitzer, a Bell Cobra AH1F Helicopter. Walking tributes are setup honoring veterans from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. A walking tour explores the important battles of Bastogne, Corregidor, Guadalcanal, Pork Chop Hill, Inchon, Hue, Old Baldy and Khe Sanh.

Name: The Little Red Schoolhouse
Location: 980 Lakeshore Drive
Historical Significance: Home to a quality adult education program established by the Deltona Corporation in 1964. The Little Red Schoolhouse is set among the moss-draped oak trees of what was then “Elkcam Park. The schoolhouse is patterned after such school house of yester-year and is a one-story schoolhouse of colonial design. It’s painted barn red with white trim and has three large classrooms and office space. It is still maintained by the City's Parks Department.

Key Historical Events

Event: Incorporation
Event Description:

In 1987, Deltona’s population was approximately 58,000. Although incorporation was debated as early as 1969, the Mackle Brothers never planned for Deltona to be a City. Incorporation was defeated by voters in 1987 and again in 1990. A third attempt in 1995 was successful.

Event: The Deltona Fire Department
Event Description:

When the Mackles had built 400 homes, the residents formed the Deltona Volunteer Fire Association. In 1969, over 75 percent of the voters elected to create the Deltona Fire District which became obsolete when the City of Deltona came into being. Thus the City began with an experienced fire staff.

Event: Deltona City Hall’s Grand Opening & Dedication
Event Description:

In 2001, construction began on Deltona’s first City Hall. Prior to construction, City administration was housed in a shopping center and later shared space in a bank building. Commission meetings took place in the library. No debt was incurred for the 43,500 square foot building that cost $7,709,000 in 2002.

Event: Purchase of the City’s own water utility
Event Description:

Deltona realized a long-term goal of owning its own utility. The City purchased the water and wastewater system that serviced Deltona from Florida Water Services following two years of negotiations. This purchase encompassed hiring of 32 water employees and the acquisition of all system assets creating Deltona Water.

Event: Construction of the Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex
Event Description:

In November 2002, clearing began on a 57-acre multi-field, multi-function sports complex. At just over $3 million, it is still the largest park project undertaken by the City. The complex includes six soccer fields and other amenities that are sought after as practice fields by professional and international soccer clubs.

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