Deltona’s commercially oriented neighbor to the west lies between the meanderings of the St. Johns River and north / south I-4. A business group from Wisconsin marketed 5-acre lots for $100 each in 1876 and Orange City became its chosen name. Its vibrant business belt along 17-92 and Enterprise Road belies its clusters of quiet neighborhoods just a block off the business track.
|The jewel in Orange City’s crown is Blue Spring State Park located at the westerly end of French Avenue. A bucolic woodsy setting of campgrounds and picnic areas surrounding the restored “Steamboat Hotel Thursby House.” Located along the crystal clear run from the multimillion gallon Blue Spring to the St. Johns River, visitors can view at close hand the magnificent endangered manatee. From November through March, they escape the chilly river waters for Blue Springs year-round 72 degree water temperature. Observation platforms put the visitor within a few feet of the Manatees in the Blue Spring Run which is teeming with gar and Tilapia (not to mention an occasional basking alligator). Thursby House is built on an ancient shell heap (mostly snails eaten by the Timucuan Indians). The House served the passengers of the frequent steamboat traffic. An elevated walkway through jungle-like growth provides access to the spring itself and bathing is permitted away from the manatee. A park directional sign has been placed on highway 17/92.|
The first inhabitants of the area were Timucuans, a nomadic tribe who found fish and fresh water plentiful here. The earliest permanent settlers may have been Louis and Mary Thursby who arrived by riverboat around 1856 and built a log cabin at the juncture of Blue Spring Run and the St. Johns River.
After the Civil War, the exotic scenery and subtropical climate of Florida attracted large numbers of Northerners. Thursby Landing was soon the site of much activity as settlers, mail and supplies arrived regularly from Jacksonville and beyond. A citrus town sprang up three miles east of the landing. Founded in 1875 and incorporated in 1882, Orange City had 800 residents by 1885.
Today, Orange City’s central location on Highway 17-92, just off Interstate 4 and midway between Orlando and Daytona Beach, puts it within 50 miles of most of Florida’s famous attractions including the Atlantic Ocean and Disney World
The Orange City of the 2000s is no longer a small town. Its slow-paced living is disappearing rapidly. With Volusia’s county seat, DeLand, approaching “build out,” Orange City is the logical place for growth. The area’s expanding job market is already attracting young families and professionals, jobs in almost any kind of business or industry can be found within easy driving distance.
Orange City’s solid foundation on traditional family values and its proximity to the vigorous growth of Central Florida promise a prosperous decade to come. Affordable housing, good city and county services, low taxes, excellent educaton and unlimited recreation add up to an irresistible quality of life.
Outdoor recreation is enjoyed year-round due to Orange City’s mild climate. The waterways at Blue Spring State Park, Hontoon Island State Park and De Leon Springs State Park are chock full of largemouth bass, bluegills, blue and channel catfish, and shellcrackers. A fishing license, required for persons older than 15 and younger than 65, may be purchased on Enterprise Road.
Charter and party boats sail from Daytona Beach on half and full-day fishing trips into the Atlantic Ocean, less than 30 miles from Orange City. You need a license for saltwater fishing.
The Area’s Golf Course:
Glen Abbey Golf Club
391 N. Pine Meadow Drive
Located in DeBary
Parks and Recreation Areas:
Valentine Park A municipal facility, boasts softball (adults, kids and T-ball) and soccer fields, tennis, basketball courts, pavillion, picnic tables and playground.
A municipal facility restored by the Four Townes Rotary Club, has a walking path, a stage and exercise equipment. Many local events are held at the park, which is located at the corner of Blue Springs Avenue and Highway 17-92.
Greater Orange City Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
520 North Volusia Avenue, Orange City, Florida 32763
Toll Free: (800) 714-0251
Phone: (386) 775-2793
Fax: (386) 775-4575
Hontoon Island State Park is accessible only by boat and passenger ferry. It offers overnight dockage, camping, boating, fishing and a nature trail.
DeLeon Springs State Park is popular with certified scuba divers. The state park provides access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, which contains 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes on the St. Johns River floodplain. DeLeon Springs State Park offers canoe rentals, nature trails and picnic areas.
Frontier Day, held in early March at Rotary Park, raises money for community organizations. Activities include a pancake breakfast, parade, dance, auto show, game booths, contests and food.
Sponsored by the Greater Orange City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Orange City Fall Festival is held at Rotary Park in October. It features live music, an art and crafts show, a 5-K Run, a chili cook-off, clowns and food.
Merchants, members of social and civic clubs and Santa Claus participate in the Orange City Christmas Parade with its floats, marching bands, horseback riders and bagpipers.