• Orange County
  • Year Founded: 1885
  • Previously known as: The Town of Lake Maitland


Maitland, one of the oldest incorporated municipalities in Central Florida, is a city rich in history. The area was once called Fumecheliga (Musk Mellon Place) by the Seminole Indians before it was established as Fort Maitland in 1838 by the U.S. Army. The fort was named after captain William Seton Maitland, a hero of the Seminole Wars who, ironically, was never in this area, having died in a battle near Tampa. At that time, the only way of getting to Central Florida was by boat from Jacksonville down the St. Johns River to Fort Mellon (Sanford), then by horse or foot. Fort Maitland was a small fort built on the west shore of Lake Maitland as a rest stop between Fort Mellon and Fort Gatlin (Orlando).

What is now Maitland Avenue was part of the Old Black Bear Trail which ran from Montreal, Canada to St. Petersburg, Florida, and passed by the fort.

When the Indian wars ceased and the fort had been torn down, people began settling in this area because of the natural spring water and extensive pine forests. At the close of the Civil War, settlers came buying large tracts of land, clearing them and planting citrus groves. The first deed for property in the city was written in 1873 to George H. Packwood who built a large hall for town meetings and social gatherings. Packwood Hall, since burned down, was located where City Hall now is. There was a large hotel, Park House, built between Park Lake and Lake Catherine, which became the winter resort for famous people of the time, including two presidents, Grover Cleveland and Chester Arthur.

By 1876 the orange trees were coming into production and difficulty in marketing the fruit caused Dr. Haskell, of the Boston Herald newspaper, to form a syndicate and construct a railroad from Jacksonville to Maitland. This was completed to Maitland in 1880 and for several years, Maitland had an ice factory, two livery stables, and besides the citrus groves, a large packing house in the center of town. As many as 300,000 boxes of fruit were to be shipped each season. The city was incorporated as the Town of Lake Maitland in 1885. After two years of devastating, tree killing freezes in 1894 and 1895, many of the grove owners were so financially affected that they left Florida. The town survived, however, and wealthy visitors kept coming to enjoy the climate. By 1926, Maitland had its largest year in citrus.

In the 1950’s the space age had the eyes of the nation on Central Florida. The Martin Marietta Corporation, as we know it today, moved from Baltimore to Orlando. Families were moved down in contingents of two or three hundred at a time. Due to its proximity to the plant, Maitland became a natural place for them to come. In 1959 a new city charter changed the name from Lake Maitland to Maitland.

Story of City’s Founding

The history of Maitland and the Orlando Avenue Corridor represents a litany of progressive leaders promoting the goodwill of the town. Thirty-one registered voters residing within the proposed corporate limits of Lake Maitland assembled on July 17, 1885 to incorporate, select officers, and organize a municipal government.1 Almost immediately, commerce and service were essential to the success of the town. B. A. Galloway built his General Store in 1890 on the southwest corner of Horatio and Maitland Avenue. His son, Carl H. Galloway, installed telephone lines from the General Store to the rest of the City in 1910. A boon period followed during the mid-1920’s and encouraged the Town of Lake Maitland and the Chamber of Commerce to actively seek entrepreneurs to settle in Lake Maitland. While growth continues, residents of the city are proud of the city’s past and actively pursue preservation of historical residences. A cultural corridor has been established. This corridor encompasses old residences still standing and occupied in the Lake Lily-Lake Catherine area and extending through the Central portion of the city. Examples of these homes are: the Arthur O’Heir House (1885), Chadburne Hall or High Oaks (1890), the James Arch House (1885), the Robert L. Wagner House (1881) and the Hill-Stone House (1908). Also, the Florida Audubon Society was founded in Maitland and continues in its protection of wild birds on Lake Sybelia.

Little Known Facts

  • Maitland is the site of the Florida Film Festival hosted by the Enzian Theater
  • Maitland is the home of the Florida Audubon Society

Historical Sites

Name: Maitland Art Center
Location: 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, Florida 32751
Historical Significance: The Maitland Art Center (formerly known as The Research Studio) is a historic site in Maitland, Florida. It was founded and designed by architect and artist J. Andre Smith in 1937. On November 17, 1982, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Name: Waterhouse Residence
Location: Lake Lily Drive, Maitland, Florida 32751
Historical Significance: William Waterhouse, who survived as a Union prisoner at Andersonville, Ga., moved his family to Maitland in 1882 from Greenport, Long Island.

Name: The Black Bear Trail
Location: Lake Lily Drive, Maitland, Florida 32751
Historical Significance: This road was the first direct route from Northeast Florida to Maitland. It followed Maitland Avenue around this west side of Lake Lily and continued south on what is now Highway 17-92. During the Second Seminole War the United States Army used this trail to connect the forts along its route. Fort Maitland was built in 1838 on the west shore of Lake Maitland, a day’s march from Fort Mellon (Sanford).

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