Kickoff Meeting for DeLand Black Heritage Trail
Tuesday November 1, 2022
10:30 – 12:00
The DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum
2nd Floor Conference Room (use elevator at back of building)
Bill Dreggors Park
240 N Stone St
DeLand, FL 32720
Thank you to all of you who have contributed information, ideas, encouragement, and letters of support for this project. In a nutshell, the project will develop and advocate self-guided walking, cycling and driving tours with printed and online guides to highlight the historical and cultural points of interest. We’ll be placing directional signs, and with Stetson’s support creating and installing an interpretive sign at Greater Union Church. Having more people moving slowly, exploring, learning and gaining appreciation for the area, rather than driving through at excessive speeds, will make the area safer and more enjoyable. We hope this will be a catalyst to inspire further infrastructure improvements. We’ll be presenting more information about the project and its purpose and plans at the meeting.
This will be followed by an open discussion about routes, proposed heritage sites and other ideas to increase activity and interest in the area. For the project to have as much meaning and positive impact as possible, we need your help. We need knowledge about the area, its past, present and future, and the people and their stories. You are the experts – many of you already have this knowledge and have collected information. We can help share this valuable knowledge with a wider audience. We also need to go beyond the current project, and plan a family-oriented street event with guided tours, a parade, reenactments, popup features, food and music to launch the tours when they are ready. We welcome anyone who is interested in sharing information and ideas, and partnering with us on this project.
About the Burgess Pavilion
The Burgess Pavilion at DeLand Memorial Hospital served acute health care needs of people of color in West Volusia County from 1930 to 1945.
Originally constructed in 1926, the Burgess Pavilion was the first hospital to serve West Volusia’s black citizens. The Pavilion – designed by celebrated architect G. Medwin Peek – was made possible through the committed efforts of the black community, headed by Tony and James Wright, and the “quiet philanthropist” Elizabeth Roe Burgess. Mrs. Burgess was the daughter of a Wisconsin banker who married a prominent Milwaukee doctor (Dr. Arthur J. Burgess) who was originally from Nova Scotia. Mrs. Burgess wintered in DeLand and gave the money for the hospital upon learning about the overwhelming need for proper health care from businessman Tony Wright.
In 1948, operations of the hospital were moved temporarily to the old Naval Air Station Infirmary and then to the new Bert Fish Memorial Hospital in 1952.
From 1948 until the mid-1980s the building temporarily housed a Stetson University fraternity and the administrative offices of the Volusia County School Board; it also stood empty for a period of years. During the restoration of the DeLand Memorial Hospital in the early 1990s, the termite-riddled shell of the Burgess Pavilion was torn down and rebuilt with the generous financial support of Hawtense Conrad, re-opening as a museum in 1993.
In 2018, the Burgess Pavilion exhibits were enlarged and expanded through a joint project of Alpha Kappa Alpha black women’s leadership sorority and the West Volusia Historical Society.
Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.