Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry A. Deland House

My dad collects postcards of Deland, Florida. So I figured there had to be some kind of book out there on the subject. Being in the book industry I checked books in print and came up with the title Around Deland A Postcard History. The problem was the book is a local publisher and was not distributed by any major wholesalers. I tried the phone number given--disconnected. Tried Google for the publisher and came up blank. Ebay, Amazon, Powells, Advanced Book Exchange,, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Borders--NOTHING.

My last effort was Googling the book title. It came up on the website for the West Volusia Historical Society. Why didn't I think of that? Deland is in West Volusia--just too easy I guess. The book was listed on their website for sale. $20 plus shipping OR I could take a quick trip to the societys gift shop and pick it up. That's what we decided to do.

The gift shop is located inside the Henry A. Deland House located just off highway 92 in downtown Deland. We managed to get the last copy they had. Hopefully dad will like it.

The Deland House was originally built in 1886 by George Hamlin the first attorney in Deland. In 1893 the house was purchased by John B. Stetson to be used for faculty housing at Stetson University. In 1903 the house was sold to Charles Farriss an instructor at Stetson. Farriss made considerable changes including adding a second floor, moving the stairs, adding a porch, and adding stained and leaded glass throughout. In 1988 the house was purchased by Robert and Hawtense Conrad and donated to the city. Over the next two years renovations were made to bring the house back to the style of when Charles Farriss lived there.

The house is available for tours Tuesday-Saturday from noon until 4:00pm with the last tour starting around 3:00-3:15. The charge is $5. Also located on site is the Robert M. Conrad Research and Educational Center which houses the Society's library, exhibit space, meeting room, and preservation areas for photos and newspapers.

Outside is the Lue Gim Gong Memorial. Gong was born in 1860 in Canton, China and moved to the U.S. in 1872. In 1886 he moved to Deland, FL. Gong was known as "The Citrus Wizard". Gong earned fame for a cross pollination of "Hart's Late" and "Mediterranean Sweet" producing a new orange called the "Lue Gim Gong". The orange ripens in early fall and is more cold resistant than others. It won a Silver Wilder Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gong also worked with grapefruit, roses, and other plant life. He passed away in 1925 and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery.


World of Kris said...

This sounds like a pretty cool place. Don't you love it when the hunt for the perfect present works out? Maybe we can combine pictures and descriptions for my Florida book, huh? Interested?

Redd Family History said...

I know how much work you can put into finding a present so I would answer YES. My dad had never seen or heard of the book and sat there for a long time going through it. He was pointing out cards he has or those he has seen on eBay. Cards dealing with the Deland train station--expensive because train collectors want them also. I told him he would need to look at writing his own one day. It was nice to see him so happy.

Yes, I would love to help out on your book. Let me know what I can do!