Experience Florida’s first luxury estate in a special way this July! Join history buffs, architecture aficionados and mansion enthusiasts for an awe-inspiring celebration during the second annual Stetson Mansion Legacy Week.
As the state’s largest, most historic mansion built before the 20th century, Stetson Mansion is a memorable place to visit in so many ways. The 8,000-square-foot winter retreat was originally built in 1886 for famous hatmaker John B. Stetson. His signature cowboy-style hat is an American icon, which makes his home the perfect fit for an iconic destination like the Daytona Beach area. But beyond his well-known contributions to the world of hat design, Stetson brought so much value to this area and to the world — and Legacy Week is a chance to celebrate his overall influence and efforts.
In his own business, Stetson was renowned for treating employees incredibly well and fairly — a significant and remarkable trait during an era that saw so much mistreatment, especially in factories. In addition to paying above-scale wages, ensuring safe workspaces and offering a liberal apprenticeship program, Stetson went so far as to build a hospital next to his factory with nominal service and treatment fees for his employees.
After his friend Henry DeLand convinced him to visit Persimmon Hollow (now DeLand), Stetson fell in love with the area and became an active leader in the community. A committed industrialist and philanthropist, Stetson was involved in a number of efforts to expand education and trade in the Daytona Beach area. In DeLand, he endowed an academy, which later evolved to become Stetson University.
Stetson and his wife, Elizabeth, were known for throwing magnificent parties and entertaining both townspeople and the social elite. The guest list at the mansion has included President Grover Cleveland, the King and Queen of England and Henry Flagler; in fact, the latter had a railroad built right next to the estate so that supplies could reach Stetson directly — most notably, so that their friend Thomas Edison could install one of the world's first home electric systems in the mansion.
His mansion in DeLand is considered a can’t-miss tour when visiting Daytona Beach — it even earned a prominent ranking by TripAdvisor as one of the "Top 5 Things To Do In Florida." Examine the eclectic details of the mansion, see the private schoolhouse, unwind in the meditation gardens, and breathe in the area’s natural beauty around the grounds.
This all-access tour gives you a glimpse at life in Stetson’s days — 97% of the home, from the exterior architecture to the 16 different floor patterns, is still completely original in design to when the Stetsons lived here. And for a week in July, you can experience the mansion in an exclusive, extraordinary way. Stetson Mansion Legacy Week will focus on Stetson’s overall legacy and lasting impact. Special heirloom pieces will be on loan from Stetson University, private rooms will be available for viewing, and there will be free beer and wine tastings available from local establishments. Reservations are required, so be sure to book your tickets while you still can!