110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Nov 2, 2012 - 9:09:57am
Thornby Park, on 37.3 acres along Lakeshore Drive at Providence Boulevard in Deltona, overlooking Lake Monroe, opened in 2011, complete with a playground constructed to be friendly to all children — including those with disabilities.
There wasn’t any place for people to get out of the sun for a rest, though.
So, this year, Thornby supporters Sandy and Roy Walters of Enterprise donated a large gazebo to the park, alleviating that problem.
On Oct. 22, Deltona Parks and Recreation Director Steve Moore, Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk, former Commissioner Janette Deyette, Vice Mayor Paul Treusch, County Council Member Pat Northey, and Kevin Finn, Titus Marvin and Chairwoman Cindy Sullivan of the Enterprise Preservation Society, and other interested residents, gathered to dedicate the structure.
Thornby, now in the city of Deltona, is part of Enterprise and Florida history, going back to pre-Columbian times, when Native Americans lived on Lake Monroe, leaving a treasure of artifacts and an Indian midden or mound on what’s now the Thornby property. It’s a treasure-trove of native plants, as well.
Thornby is believed to be the site of Fort Kingsbury, built around 1838, during the Second Seminole War, though the fort is long gone.
Dr. James Glass and his wife, Anna, were among the people who settled in Enterprise in the early 20th century.
A dedication plaque in the gazebo notes that “Dr. Glass cared for ‘many a poor white man and many a poor black man’ and ‘the only reward he would accept was their heartfelt thanks.’”
Another plaque thanks the Walterses for their donation of the gazebo.
It was James Glass who named the property “Thornby” to honor Jennie Thorn, a hospital president and philanthropist.
Fast-forward almost a hundred years, to the early 2000s. The property looked doomed to development when a cadre of Enterprise locals, including the Walterses, fought for the oasis of green along the lake to be turned into a park, instead.
In 2009, after years of contention, city workshops and support and opposition from Deltona residents, the property became public. The $3 million cost was paid, half by the City of Deltona and half by the county’s Volusia Forever program.
Parks Director Moore noted the playground was completed at a cost of around $294,000, and the park’s grand opening was held on Feb. 12, 2011.
Parks staff began working with Sandy and Roy Walters on the gazebo, which was completed in May, at a cost of around $50,000, and the formal dedication and unveiling of plaques on Oct. 22 brings the Thornby history to date.
“I’m happy we could do this,” Sandy Walters said.
She is author of The Story of Thornby, a book about the effort to save the property.
Thornby, part of Enterprise history, will also be part of the future, with improved walking trails through its woods for students of Florida plants and those who want to enjoy a relatively undisturbed outdoors. It’s also a trailhead for the East Coast Regional Trail, which will eventually go all the way to Titusville, Roy Walters said.
In the meantime, children played on the swings and slides as the group met for the dedication.
Thornby will always be part of Enterprise’s history, heart and soul.
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