It's Maitland's 125th birthday, and the city's throwing a party with hopes to bring people together while bringing the town's history to the forefront.
"It's important that people understand, recognize and remember all the past that led us to where we are today and all we have to enjoy in Maitland," Mayor Doug Kinson said.
This party hopes to get the city's residents remembering where it all started. Maitland was incorporated as a city in 1885, beginning as a little fort "rest stop" between Sanford and Orlando during the Indian Wars. After the wars ceased, it became a destination to live because of the natural spring water and pine forests. The Parker family, of Maitland's own Parker Lumber, came for the lumber opportunity.
When they set up home and shop on U.S. Highway 17-92, the Parker children skipped down the then-narrow street, and easily counted cars driving by on a lazy Sunday afternoon, said Frances Parker Moredock at the business' 75th birthday party last year.
Now not even a Parker could imagine counting the cars that speed by on the busy highway. Maitland has grown from a rest stop to a destination. More than 15,000 people live in a city that has become one focused on history and community.
The Party in the Park merges these two passions.
"We hope to inspire civic pride, to have the resonation that we're such a family-oriented community and to see how bright our future is," said party contributor Gloria Capozzi, director of program marketing for the Maitland Art and History Association, which manages the Maitland Art Center, the Maitland Historical Museum, The Telephone Museum, the Waterhouse Residence Museum and the Carpentry Shop Museum.
The party, on Saturday, July 17, will begin with a parade through town to Lake Lily, where all the other festivities will be. Magicians and musicians will wander around to entertain the crowd. Chalk artists will cover the sidewalks with "I love Maitland"-themed art. The kids aren't left out either: Children will be able to do their own chalk art on paper, and there will be face painting, clowns and games, too.
"People are so busy; many have two jobs; you don't often get to have a shared experience with the whole family … at literally no cost," said Mari Smith, community events coordinator for Maitland.
Local businesses will be represented at the party with their own booths, and the Maitland Art and History Association will have an educational booth with information about Maitland's history.
Music in the air
All types of music will provide a background to the fun, all volunteered by the Performing Arts of Maitland. The Maitland Stage Band will play, along with the Goldenseal band featuring Joe Hughes. Hughes will perform "Welcome to Maitland," a song he wrote about the town after visiting. A fireworks show will be the finale of the night, with the Maitland Symphony Orchestra giving a musical punch to the display. They'll also play Maitland's song. This last part is what June Flowers, executive director of the Performing Arts of Maitland, is most excited for people to see.
"Seeing in our little town, our own orchestra play our own song, it's going to be tremendous," Flowers said.
This sense of ownership is what community events like this provide, organizers said.
"It gives a sense of belonging and patriotism, and that patriotism makes you feel closer to the environment you're in," Smith said. "Everyone wants to belong, and you belong to this city."
This party is another step toward Maitland's future, one where the city and its people continue to grow together while remembering history, Capozzi said.
"So often you're looking at where you came from to unify and move forward," Capozzi said.
While Maitland has much more to do — establishing a downtown at the top of the list — what the town has accomplished has only been done through focusing on community.
"Maitland is about giving all these great chances for people connections, to be with neighbors," said Capozzi. "That is the magic that is Maitland."
And that's what makes this year's event more than just a birthday party.
The birthday celebration, on Saturday, July 17, will begin at 3:45 p.m. with a parade down Maitland Avenue, ending at Lake Lily Park where all other festivities will take place at 4:45 p.m. There will be magicians, face painting, games, chalk artists and music. The Maitland Stage Band will perform at 6 p.m. and Goldenseal will perform at 7 p.m.
The Maitland Symphony Orchestra will begin playing at 8 p.m. and will provide a musical background for fireworks at 8:45 p.m.
Timeline of the city of Maitland
People roamed among exotic plants and animals in the land now called Maitland centuries before its written history began.
12000 BC- 1000 AD: Paleo, Archaic, and Woodland Cultures
1000-1600 AD Timucua tribe inhabited Maitland area
Spanish exploration began an era of change as diverse nations sought new homes or fortunes in the interior of the land Ponce de Leon called “Florida.”
1539: De Soto Expedition passed near Maitland
1560-1763: French, English, and Spanish struggled to control Florida
1750 Seminole tribe came to Florida from Georgia
1763-1783 British rule
1783-1821 Spanish rule
As part of the new U.S. territory, Maitland soon became Seminole Territory; but hostilities led to the Seminole War. Fort Maitland was built on the shores of Lake Maitland because of its location on the Black Bear Trail and the Military Trail connecting Fort Melon with Fort Gatlin
1821 Florida became American Territory
1823 Present day Maitland became Seminole territory
1835-1842 Seminole War
1838 Fort Maitland established
After 16 years of statehood and 5 years of Civil War, a scattering of farmers and cattlemen were Maitland’s primary occupants. Union and Confederate veterans joined others seeking a better life as they began to trickle into the Maitland area. James Erwin Hill planted the first orange grove as founders George Packwood, William Waterhouse, Isaac Vanderpool, A.W. Kingsley, W.B. Willett, Edward Turner, and J.C. Eaton carved places in the Maitland wilderness.
1845: Florida became a U.S. State
1861-1865 Florida part of Confederate States of America
1870 Small farms and cattle scattered around Maitland
1872 Lake Maitland Post office established
1872 James E. Hill planted first orange grove
To transport a thriving orange crop to larger markets, Maitland secured a railroad connection. A hotel was built, settlers and tourists arrived by train, boat, wagon, and horseback; and Lake Maitland was incorporated. C.H. Hall, Louis Dommerich, Captain Josiah Eaton, Reverend Bishop Whipple, E.L Hungerford, and L.F. Lawrence, were among Maitland’s early leaders.
Maitland had modern conveniences such as telegraph, telephone service, electrical service, water works, and street paving by the time the Real Estate Boom peaked in 1925.
1878 The Park House Hotel was built
1880 South Florida railroad reached Maitland
1880 Methodist Church organized.
1882 Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Established
1885 Lake Maitland Incorporated
Thirty-one registered voters lived within Lake Maitland’s city limits
1894-95 Tree-killing freezes damaged orange crops
1900 Florida Audubon Society organized in Maitland
1924 Chamber of Commerce organized to promote Maitland’s location on the Black Bear Trail and Dixie Highway
In the early 1930s Artist Andre Smith first visited Maitland on his way to South Florida. He later constructed an artists’ village that operated from 1937 until his death in 1959 when it was purchased by the City of Maitland. As the rest of the United States endured The Great Depression, Maitland and all of Florida struggled to recover from an economic downturn that began in the mid 1920s.
1934 Parker Lumber Company started
1940 Population: 463
1940s Citrus production, tourism, railroad primary income sources
Post-war Maitland grew out of the demand for housing by employees of the nearby Glen L. Martin Company (Martin Marietta). Subdivisions such as Dommerich Estates, Hollieanna Shores, Minnehaha Shores and Delroy Park were built.
1950 Population 889
1956 Chamber of Commerce reorganized
1958 Maitland Plaza Shopping Center opened
1958 First Maitland Day and Miss Maitland Beauty Pageant
1959 New City Charter changed name from Lake Maitland to Maitland
1960 Population: 3,570
Maitland implemented numerous projects during the 1960s. Improvements included installation of a City sewer system, widening Lake Avenue, and straightening Horatio.
1965 Maitland Civic Center built
1970 Population 7,157
1970 Maitland Historical Society Formed
1971 Disney World arrival stimulated growth
1973 Jewish Community Center Maitland Campus opened
The growth of the city continued to spiral during the 1970s. Between 1972 and 1979, five branch banking establishments moved to Maitland, and 12 new residential subdivisions were developed. Late in the 1970s, the 226-acre Maitland Center was developed west of Interstate 4.
1975 Municipal complex completed
1976 New Maitland Boulevard begun
1980 Population: 8,763
1985 Maitland celebrated its Centennial
1990 Population: 8,932
1992 Historic Waterhouse Residence opened for tours
1992 Senior Center dedicated
1994 Carpentry Shop Museum opened for tours
As the world entered a new Millennium, Maitland’s population topped 12,000. Continuing to emphasize preserving its heritage, the city implemented numerous services to enhance life for its citizens.
2000 Population: 12,019
2002 New Maitland Senior Center Completed
2005 Population: 16,476
Recreation and open space covered 1,600 acres of Maitland’s 3,400 acres
2005 Maitland Little League team in Little League World Series
2006 Maitland Chamber of Commerce celebrated 50th anniversary
2010 City of Maitland celebrates 125th anniversary on July 17th
Maitland Art and History Association celebrate 40 years of service as public institutions.
This includes the Maitland Art Center, Maitland Historical Museum, Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum and the Telephone Museum.