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Prominent Maitland Families
Dommerich Family | Hill Family | Galloway Family | Vanderpool Family | Waterhouse Family

Historic Newspaper Articles

Maitland Historical Society

The Dommerich Family
In 1891, Louis F. Dommerich, a wealthy New York silk merchant, purchased 210 acres of land in Maitland (the area now known as Dommerich Estates). One year later he constructed a 30 room-mansion surrounded by 130 acres of landscaped grounds and 72 acres of citrus trees which he named "Hiawatha Groves"

The town of Maitland considered the estate a showplace. It included eight miles of boardwalk like trails, a man made pond, and its own citrus packinghouse. The mansion was an impressive three-story frame house containing multiple turrets and gables.

Even though the Dommerichs were winter residence, they chose to give back to the community. Their efforts created the Maitland Library and the Florida Audubon Society.

In 1896 Mrs. Dommerich provided 360 books for the first public library. When the Maitland Library Association raised $3,000 in 1907 for a library building, Mr. Dommerich donated money for an endowment fund to ensure the Library's success.

During the winter of 1900, reports reached the Maitland area that mill agents were shipping as many as 130,000 birds a year out of the state to satisfy the demands of northern manufactures. Later that spring, the Dommerichs formed a group of concerned citizens and created the Florida Audubon Society.

Florida Audubon Society

The Hill Family
During the 1870's most settlers to Central Florida were attracted to its breathtaking beauty as they made their way down the St. John's River. James Erwin Hill and his family were no exception. After a brief trip in 1871 to an area just south of Mellonville (Sanford), Mr. Hill and his son Tom decided to file for the homestead of 160 acres in the area now known as Maitland.

The rest of the Hill family arrived to Maitland in 1872 and by the following year had constructed a two story wooden home between Lakeshore Drive and Oranole Road. It was during that same year Mr. Hill planted 17 acres of citrus on his property. These citrus groves are believed to be one of the first in the Maitland area. Mr. Hill also ran a successful freight service from Mellonville (Sandford) to Maitland and assisted many new residents as they relocated to Central Florida.

Sumter Brock Hill, Mr. Hill's second son, became very interested in citrus and eventually opened two nurseries in Maitland that specialized in establishing young citrus trees. After graduating from the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University, Brock traveled abroad to Italy where he purchased and imported young citrus trees. He is responsible for introducing many new varieties of oranges and grapefruits to the Central Florida region and even supplied growers with trees as far away as Southern California.

The City of Maitland elected Sumter Mayor of Maitland in 1894 and he served six terms. Beside his success in local politics and the citrus industry, he ran a small grocery store on the corner of Horatio Avenue and Independence Lane. He eventually donated the stores property to the city of Maitland, where City Hall currently stands.

The Galloway Family
In 1910, Carl H. Galloway returned to Florida to visit his family. His father, a local grocer, wanted him to stay and help him run his store. Carl had a notion to improve customer service for his father's grocery store by installing telephones in the homes of customers, allowing them to phone in orders.

By 1915, the telephone business dissolved the grocery store. Galloway then began charging for service and established the Maitland Winter Park Telephone Exchange. Six years later, the Winter Park Telephone Company was formally incorporated and the business moved to a small building in Winter Park.

By 1979 the company became the 10th largest independent, or non-Bell- Company in the country. That same year the Winter Park Telephone Company joined United Telephone of Florida (now Sprint).

Mr. Galloway supported many civic activities in the Maitland and Winter Park area. Most notably was his involvement with Rollins College as a trustee, where students notice the Galloway name throughout the campus

The Winter Park Telephone Company had a profound impact on the socioeconomic development of Maitland and greater Central Florida. With the introduction of innovative technology, the town of Maitland and surrounding communities gained significant business opportunities through out the 20th century. One only has to imagine living without a telephone to appreciate the importance that it had on this community.

A collection of telephones and memorabilia from Carl H. Galloway are on display in the Maitland Historical Society's Historical Museum.

The Vanderpool Family
Born in New York City of Dutch descendents Isaac Vanderpool traveled extensively through South America as a young man. In 1870, returning from Brazil, his sailing vessel stopped in Jacksonville for provisions. He and a companion decided to travel down the St John's River to Fort Maitland.

By 1874 he applied for homestead in Maitland and started planting an orange grove. Within two years he married Harriet Langman and moved from New York to make Maitland his permanent home. With George H. Packwood and Dr. Richard Packwood, Mr. Vanderpool laid out the town of Maitland and planted oak trees along the streets.

Mr. and Mrs. Vanderpool never shunned their civic duties, and lead many community projects through out their lives while living in Maitland. Mrs. Vanderpool accompanied Bishop Henry C. Whipple in establishing the Church of the Good Shepared and helped with efforts in organizing both the Maitland Library and Audubon Society. Mr. Vanderpool along with Josiah C. Eaton established the town of Eatonville, acquired land for the first town cemetery and served as mayor of Maitland in 1887.

Mr. Vanderpool was very instrumental in commercializing citrus in Maitland and Central Florida. In 1892, the Gate City Chronicle of Sanford Florida featured a story regarding Mr. Vanderpool's new packinghouse in Maitland and claimed it to be one of the best and most modern in the state.

The Waterhouse Family
At the end of the civil war, William H. Waterhouse was released from a prison in Andersonville, Georgia where he spent 13 months after his capture. With his doctor giving him only a few years to live, he decided to spend some time with a cousin at Fort Maitland in Central Florida.

Ill from neglect and malnutrition, Mr. Waterhouse decided to spend his remaining years in the warm climate of Central Florida. Mr. Waterhouse, a master carpenter, found a location by a lake (now known as Lake Lily) and in 1884 moved his family into a house that he built himself.

This was the beginning of a successful career as a contractor and a very active civic life. Mr. Waterhouse went on to build many homes and churches in the Maitland area. He constructed the pews for the old Presbyterian Church of Maitland, which are still used in the choir loft of the new church.

As a leading citizen, he served as alderman when the town of Maitland became incorporated in 1885, a post he held for 36 years. Mr. Waterhouse had two children, Stella and Charles who were also very committed to Maitland. Stella was the Liberian at the Maitland Library for 30 years. Charles, a successful architect in Passaic, New Jersey, designed the Library in 1907.

The House that Mr. Waterhouse built continues to maintain it's beauty for over 120 years on the shores of Lake Lily. It is one of the few such private residences to have survived largely unchanged. The home is on the National Register for Historic Places and is open to the public for tours as the Historic Waterhouse Residence Museum.

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