Historic Orange City
The town’s founders purchased nearly 5000 acres of Internal Improvement Land in 1875 for $1.25 an acre. The Historic District, established in 1997, encompasses the original one square mile boundary of the town during the time of incorporation on August 26, 1882. The Historic District has 217 contributing structures dating back to 1876. Dominated by Frame and Masonry Vernacular, the district has fine examples of Bungalow, Classic Revival, Colonial Revival, Gothic Revival, and Mediterranean Revival genres. The collection of buildings contributes to the historic character of Orange City, giving the community a sense of place, charm and distinction.
When the city streets were first laid out, Graves Avenue was the traditional main street of town. The first business on the street was owned by David P. Graves, hence the name. Many founding families’ names are still visible on street signs throughout the historic district, including Thorpe, Holly, Carpenter, and Sparkman. In 1881, W. W. West laid a narrow gauge rail from his store, at the corner of Holly and Graves, down the center of Graves Avenue and all the way to Blue Spring Landing. The rail cart was pulled by a mule. The tracks were later improved to standard gauge by the Orange City, Blue Spring, and Atlantic Railway. By 1887, the tracks extended all the way to New Smyrna and were soon acquired by the Florida East Coast Railway. The train stopped running through town in the early 1930s as the automobile increased in popularity.
The proliferation of automobiles prompted the demand for better roads. In 1926, the City celebrated the construction of the Black Bear trail. Today, this road is better known as Volusia Avenue, or US HWY 17-92. Sadly, many of the storefronts and oak trees that once lined Volusia Avenue were demolished to make way for the new road. When the road was widened again in the 1980’s, more historic structures were razed. Still, several significant historic resources remain. These include The 1876 Heritage Inn, the original Orange City Mineral Springs Water Company, The Dickinson Memorial Library, and a number of fine homes.
386-775-5417 – [email protected]
205 E. Graves Ave.
Orange City, FL 32763
Historic Walking Tour
Enjoy a self guided Historic Walking Tour of the traditional neighborhood, available for download on your mobile device.
Download the free mobile app “Clio – Your Guide to History.” Once you have the app, click on “Tours” and search for “Walking Tour of Historic Orange City.” You can also view the tour online here: www.theclio.com/tour/1089.
Orange City Local Register of Historic Places
Historic Preservation Board
The Historic Preservation Board consists of five members who shall be unrelated and shall reside within the city limits of Orange City, except that one may be resident of the West Volusia area that has an interest in Orange City and historic preservation. Board Members are appointed by the City Council for a term of three years.
This volunteer advisory board oversees the historic area created in 1997 which encompasses the original one square mile boundary of the City of Orange City, as established in 1882. The Orange City Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The district contains a variety of architectural styles, including Bungalow, Frame Vernacular, Classical Revival, and Colonial Revival.
The Board recommends to the City Council historic property and landmark designations, as well as programs to stimulate public interest in historic preservation. The Board also advises property owners and local agencies concerning the proper protection, maintenance, enhancement, and preservation of cultural resources.
The Historic Preservation Board meetings are typically held on the third Thursday of each month beginning at 5 p.m. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will take place in the Development Services Conference Room located at 205 E. Graves Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763. For more information, please contact the Development Services Department at (386) 775-5415.
Historic Preservation Board Members
|Member Name||Seat #||Term Expires|
|Donna Cobb||1||[email protected]||09/27/2025|
|Thomas Hewitt||2||[email protected]||07/26/2024|
|Thomas Eidel Sr.||3||[email protected]||07/26/2024|
|Emil Scipioni||5||[email protected]||07/26/2024|
Are you interested in volunteering on a city advisory board? Please fill out the application below and identify which board you wish to serve on. Applications are received by the City Clerk’s office. Citizens are eligible to serve on one advisory board at a time. Download Application (PDF)
Meeting Agendas and Minutes:
Historic Preservation Board Publications:
Step Back in Time https://www.orangecityfl.gov/about-our-city/orange-city-town-history/
Blue Spring State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Blue-Spring
West Volusia Historical Society www.delandhouse.org
History of Volusia County http://www.volusia.org/residents/history/index.stml
River of Lakes Heritage Corridor http://riveroflakesheritagecorridor.org/
National Register of Historic Places in Volusia County http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/fl/volusia/state.html