For Hometown News
The 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes, produced by the West Volusia Historical Society, will be from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9.
Homes in DeLand's Southeast Historic District will be featured, along with the Bethel AME Church and the Stetson University President's House. Stetson University President's House, 418 N. Woodland Blvd., in DeLand, was built in 1910, using the neoclassical plans of Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s grand "Magnolia" catalog home for a base cost of $5,140.
Originally built for businessman W.A. Steed, it was later purchased by the university in 1948 from the estate of winter resident James Williamson.
The three-story, 4,489- square-foot house with 14 rooms and four bathrooms, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Stetson University Campus Historic District.
In 1987, the house was remodeled with the south-side porch added in 1992 for its first public function: a dinner honoring President Jimmy Carter who was a guest lecturer at the time. The porch bridges the interior and the garden outside. The Emily Edmunds Garden Pavilion was built in 1994 to accommodate the numerous outdoor functions of the president. The pavilion features a catering kitchen, restrooms, storage room and garden work area. The round columns and widow's walk help unite the structure architecturally with the main house. Sculptures of pineapples, symbols of hospitality, and duplicate lattice work link the pavilion with the porch.
In 2007, the Vera Lea Rinker Native Plant Garden was created, expanding the south garden area to two acres to enhance the university's environmental learning facilities and reflect Stetson's commitment to environmental stewardship. It features Florida native trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and wildflowers.
Stetson President's House has been the home to six presidents and their families: Dr. J. Ollie Edmunds, Dr. Paul Francis Geren, Dr. John E. Johns, Dr. Pope Duncan, Dr. H. Douglas Lee and the current president, Dr. Wendy B. Libby. In 2009, the Libbys donated the funds to add a detached garage structure, which Dr. Richard M. Libby designed, incorporating the architectural theme used in the original home and in the Edmunds Pavilion.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, are available at the DeLand House Museum, 137 W. Michigan Ave., the Muse Book Shop, 112 S. Woodland Blvd., and the Family Book Shop, 1301 N. Woodland Blvd.
To reserve tickets or for more information, contact the DeLand House Museum at (386) 740-6813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.