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Posted on: May 4, 2023

DeLand commemorates National Historic Preservation Month with launch of digital historic tours

Preserving Our Past

In recognition of National Historic Preservation Month, the City of DeLand has launched two digital historic tours on Google Maps and Google Earth. These tours will provide an interactive way for residents and visitors to explore the city’s rich history and culture.

“We’re excited to offer these digital historic tours as a way for people to connect to our city’s past,” said Mayor Chris Cloudman. “This is a great opportunity for all to learn more about our city and its unique history.”

The two self-guided tours are designed to take visitors on a journey through time, exploring some of DeLand's most iconic sites and landmarks dating back 140-plus years. Over 20 sites are featured on the high-level historic tours and map out the city’s four historic districts: the Downtown DeLand Historic District, Stetson University Historic District, the Garden District and the West DeLand Residential Historic District – which combined feature more than 450 historic buildings.

The tour offered on Google Maps allows people to hop in their vehicle and map out the sites on their GPS. The Google Earth tour is a virtual tour that allows people to explore DeLand from anywhere they would like.

 The tour offerings are among several ways the city is focused on remembering our past and preserving our future.

    The city has invested more than $150,000 in structural improvements to the DeLand House Museum, which is operated by the West Volusia Historical Society.

    While the city was disappointed with the demolition of the Hotel Putnam, staff requested the owner to preserve as many of the structure’s bricks as possible. Roughly 500 bricks were saved and are being used to raise funds for future restoration projects such as the DeLand House Museum and the JW Wright Building.

    The city is proud to be a partner in helping restore the JW Wright Building, once a key building in the city’s Spring Hill neighborhood. In 2019, the city awarded $20,000 in underutilized grant funds toward the restoration project. 

    The city will be raising awareness amongst property owners regarding the historical tax exemption available to them. 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.

    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.

For more information about DeLand’s digital historic tours, please visit www.deland.org/historictours

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