DeLand, Florida

DeLand is a small city that serves as the county seat of Volusia County in the US State of Florida. Founded in 1876, the city was named in honor of its founder, Henry Addison DeLand. DeLand is the 78th largest city in Florida and home to the state’s oldest private college, Stetson University.

Geography Of DeLand

Stetson University area in DeLand, Florida
Stetson University area in DeLand, Florida. Editorial credit: Michael715 / Shutterstock.com

DeLand is situated just east of the St. Johns River, about 55 km north of Orlando's central business district and 40km southwest of Daytona Beach. The city forms a part of the "Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Metropolitan Area" and covers a total area of 46.1 sq. km, of which 45.6 sq. km is occupied by land, and 0.5 sq. km is covered by water. The St. Johns River drains the city.

The Climate Of DeLand

Like many areas in the region, DeLand experiences a humid subtropical climate according to the Köppen Climate Classification. Summers in DeLand are usually somewhat wetter than winters, with rainfall coming from convectional thunderstorm activity. The average temperature for the year in the city is 21.5 °C. August is the warmest month in DeLand, with an average temperature of 27.5 °C, while January is considered the coolest month and has an average temperature of 14.8 °C. The average amount of precipitation for the year in DeLand is 1409.7 mm. The city gets, on average, 120 days of rainfall, with the most precipitation occurring in July and the least precipitation occurring in April.

Brief History Of DeLand

Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand, Florida
Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand, Florida. Editorial credit: Joy Sagar / Shutterstock.com

The earliest occupants of the region where DeLand was built left a little record and, for untold ages, lived and died before the coming of Europeans. In 1874, Captain John Rich settled in the area and built a log cabin. Later in 1876, Henry Addison Deland, a baking soda magnate from Fairport, New York, visited the region and envisioned building an agricultural, citrus, and tourism center. He sold his northern business, bought land in Florida, and founded the town, naming it after himself. In 1877, he built a public school for the town and established the DeLand Academy in 1883 as the first private college in the state. However, a freeze destroyed the orange crop in 1885 and left DeLand’s Florida investments nearly worthless. DeLand returned to his home in the North and entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson, a wealthy hat manufacturer from Philadelphia. The college was renamed John B. Stetson University in its patron’s honor in 1889. The college later founded the first law school in Florida in 1900. The city was officially incorporated in 1882 and became the county seat of Volusia County in 1887. DeLand was the first city in the state to get electricity. Since 1992, it has hosted the DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, a two-day event held in the historic downtown area every year on the weekend before thanksgiving. The festival has grown in popularity, and as of 2009, it has an annual attendance of more than 50,000 people during the weekend it is held.

The Population Of DeLand 

In 2020, DeLand was home to 36,300 people with a median age of 41.9 and a population density of 748 people per square kilometer. DeLand’s population has increased by 45.16% since the last census, which recorded a population of 27,031 in 2010. The largest ethnic groups in DeLand include White at 75.53%; African Americans at 17.26%; Other races at 3.19%; Two or more races at 2.10%; Asians at 1.78% and Native Americans at 0.14%. All households in DeLand speak English at home as their primary language, and 96.4% of the residents are citizens of the United States. As of 2019, almost 8% of DeLand residents were born outside the country. The most common hometown for foreign-born residents in Florida was Cuba, followed by Haiti and Colombia.

The student population in DeLand is skewed towards women, with 1905 male students and 2,524 female students. Most students graduating from universities in the city are white and followed by Hispanic or Latino. In 2019, the number of degrees awarded in DeLand reached 1,235 degrees. The largest university in the city is Stetson University, the oldest private university in Florida. The most popular majors are Law, General Business Administration & Management, and General Finance.

The Economy Of DeLand 

Persimmon Hollow Brewery and other shops in downtown DeLand, Florida
Persimmon Hollow Brewery and other shops in downtown DeLand, Florida. Editorial credit: SR Productions / Shutterstock.com

The median household income in DeLand is $47,925. The city is currently growing at a rate of 3.87% annually and has a poverty rate of 16.51%. Males in Florida tend to earn 1.34 times more than females, and the income inequality in the state, measured using the Gini index, was recorded at 0.473. The economy of the city employs more than one-third of the population. DeLand has developed as a citrus-growing region, and although citrus processing is still important, the city’s diversified economy is based on industrial development and tourism nowadays. The Largest industries in DeLand include Health Care & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Accommodation & Food Services. 

Visiting DeLand

Athens Theatre in DeLand, Florida
Athens Theatre - a historic brick building in downtown DeLand, Florida. Editorial credit: SR Productions / Shutterstock.com

The city of DeLand was initially modeled as the “Athens of Central Florida.” The historic town is popularly known as the home to the National Register of Historic Places-designated Stetson University, known for its Greco-Roman architectural elements and majestic red-brick buildings.

Bill Dreggors Park

Bill Dreggors Park is a historic park located in DeLand. The park was named in honor of historian and preservationist William J. “Bill” Dreggors, Jr., and is home to a beautiful butterfly garden that serves as an excellent spot for children to play. Families also enjoy the Freedom Playground when visiting the park. The park offers four picnic pavilions to be rented for private special events. Several museum exhibits are held inside the park’s 1920 Memorial Hospital Building.

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