Florida Inaugural Event Showcases Historical, Never-Before-Seen Items
DeLand, FL – The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority is partnering with the Stetson Mansion for a week-long celebration of John B. Stetson, Florida’s first snowbird who left an amazing cultural legacy beyond the world’s most famous hat. Stetson Legacy Week honors the man with a number of special events, including the unveiling of Stetson items that either have never been seen by the public … or haven’t been seen in more than 100 years.
Stetson was known as a progressive employer who paid decent wages, gave back to the community and donated generously to charities. He had a specific affinity for DeLand and chose the city as the winter home for his family. He became the main benefactor for the state’s first private university (named Stetson University in 1889) and brought electricity to DeLand, which became the first place in Florida with electric streetlights.
Legacy Week centers around the activities at the Stetson Mansion, the home John B. Stetson built in 1886 – and the place where he died in 1906. The Stetson Mansion, the first “Gilded Age” mansion in Florida, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Special “Stetson Legacy Week” tours are available twice daily at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm, during Legacy Week July 8-15, at the Stetson Mansion. Listed as Florida’s “Most Popular Tourist Attraction” by TripAdvisor, the Stetson Mansion will be filled with new items guests have never seen before.
Some of the new items include a Stetson hat worn by John’s son, Henry Stetson; the diary of his wife, Elizabeth, which details her journey to be with her second husband, a Count in Portugal, who died before she made it back to his castle, Castle Gloria; son John Stetson Jr.’s sterling silver baby cup; and Benjamin Stetson’s sterling silver and ivory baby rattle along with the only known picture of him (he died at age 2 from a childhood illness); and a collection of hundreds of John B. Stetson’s obituary notices from papers around the county, some detailing his last will and testament.
All of the items on display are family heirlooms that John B. Stetson IV donated to Stetson University when he visited in March.
In addition to the activities at the Mansion, guests can enjoy free wine and beer tastings at Abbey and So.NY Trading Market in downtown DeLand. All you need to show is your Mansion tour ticket.
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