DeLand is the county seat of Volusia County, Florida. In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population to be 24,375. It is part of the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 436,575 in 2006. The city includes the census designated place of West DeLand.
DeLand is home to Stetson University and The Museum of Florida Art. Noted for its historic architecture, the downtown has been undergoing extensive renovations in recent years. On February 2, 2007, DeLand and the surrounding area was hit by a major tornado outbreak.
To enhance the community's stature and culture, in 1883, Henry A. DeLand established DeLand Academy, Florida's first private college. But in 1885, a freeze destroyed the orange crop. DeLand had guaranteed settlers' investments as an inducement to relocate, and so was obligated to buy back their ruined groves. He went broke and would have to return north. DeLand entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson, a wealthy hat manufacturer from Philadelphia and one of the institution's founding trustees. In 1889, it was renamed John B. Stetson University in its patron's honor. Later shortened to Stetson University, it founded in 1900 the first law school in Florida. The various sports teams are called the Hatters.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,904 people, 8,375 households, and 4,631 families residing in the city. The population density was 1317.1/mi² (506.8/km²). There were 9,272 housing units at an average density of 584.2/mi² (225.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.96% White, 19.18% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 3.00% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.73% of the population.
There were 8,375 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 37.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 83.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,712, and the median income for a family was $35,329. Males had a median income of $26,389 versus $20,114 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,936. About 14.2% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
Downtown DeLand's main street, Woodland Boulevard, has a number of notable 19th century buildings. It is officially known as Downtown DeLand Historic District.
The Garden District is a mixed-use neighborhood adjacent to downtown DeLand, which is officially known as Downtown DeLand's Historic Garden District. The neighborhood was originally developed between 1900 and 1920. It fell into a long period of decline after WWII, and by the 1980s had become blighted.
In 2000, Michael E. Arth, a California artist and urban designer, bought twenty-seven dilapidated structures, renamed the area The Garden District, and lobbied to create a new historic district. During the following 8 years he restored or rebuilt 32 homes and businesses, which have become the core of a neighborhood revival. A feature length documentary film, New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism, tells the story of DeLand and The Garden District.
The Hatters baseball team plays at Melching Field at Conrad Park, a 2,500 seat ballpark located off campus just south of downtown DeLand. Melching Field was built in 1999 and is recognized as one of the finer college baseball venues in the NCAA, having hosted numerous Atlantic Sun Conference championships and other baseball related tournaments and events. Prior to the opening of Melching Field, the Hatters played at old Conrad Park on the same site, which also hosted spring training games in the 1940s and 1950s and the DeLand Red Hats, a Florida State League minor league franchise.
Adjacent to Melching Field is Spec Martin Stadium, a 6,000 seat football stadium. Spec Martin Stadium currently hosts DeLand High School Bulldog football and soccer games and was the former home of the Stetson University Hatters football team before the school discontinued its football program in the early 1960s. Spec Martin Stadium also was a filming location for the 1999 Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy, where it depicted the home field of the fictional South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs.
Additionally, the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon filmed several scenes on the campus of Stetson University. The 1999 independent film The First of May starring Mickey Rooney and Joe DiMaggio was shot on various locations throughout DeLand.
Days of Thunder, starring Tom Cruise, was also partially filmed in DeLand.
Several television commercials, including some for the cable network ESPN, have been filmed in DeLand.
New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism (2008) was filmed almost entirely in DeLand in 2006 and 2007.