When DeLand businessman and local of 70 years Bill Mancinik saw his friend Randy Jackson’s collection of DeLand postcards, Mancinik knew the collection needed to be shared.
Each postcard offered a glimpse of history.
“Color postcards mean something,” Mancinik told The Beacon. “This is something that comes back from the past forward to you. I like that idea.”
Inspired by a book another friend had assembled featuring postcards that celebrate Key West, Mancinik and Jackson spent three years putting together their book, Postcards of Historic DeLand, Florida (and environs).
The book is a labor of love for his hometown, Mancinik said, but also a reminder that the city used to look much different.
“This is what my hometown used to look like,” he said. “These are things I grew up with 71 years ago, and these are things I enjoyed as a kid.”
Proceeds from the sale of the postcard book will benefit the West Volusia Historical Society.
“It is not meant to be a commercial venture. More like a love letter to our (often forgotten) past,” Mancinik told The Beacon.
Jackson started collecting historic DeLand postcards some 40 years ago, he said. Like many collections, it started with one postcard and snowballed.
“I would say we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,” Jackson said.
That includes some duplicates, too, though.
“A lot of common DeLand postcards were of College Arms [Towers], a lot of duplicates of the Stetson buildings and the fountain,” Jackson said. “There are hard cards to find. Some of the old Downtown, some of the stores Downtown.”
Couple Mancinik’s layout and explanatory texts with Jackson’s postcards, and illustrations and graphic design by Bobe Kenemer, and the group came up with a book that celebrates DeLand’s past.
Postcards of Historic DeLand is available for purchase at The Muse Book Shop, the Museum of Art — DeLand store, the West Volusia Historical Society, The West Volusia Beacon office and other locations.
A word from Bill
As a DeLand native of 70 years, I am always grateful for newcomers who embrace our community as their own. They see the unique appeal of the area in much the same way that my ancestors did.
The debate over growth and its demand on local resources can sometimes cloud the history of our community. There was a time when DeLand was truly the idyllic small town that typified early 20th-century Florida.
Citrus blossoms in the spring, cool natural springs in the sweltering summer heat and occasional winter cold snaps were as regular as clockwork. Homes were erected on the many vacant lots. Existing neighbors would complain about growth, and then become lifelong friends.
If it was dull, it was at least predictable. People knew each other. You could enter a restaurant (a special event) and know pretty much everyone inside.
Fortunately, there are records of those times. Many books and personal memories are preserved for all to enjoy. Also preserved are the postcards of most communities in the U.S.
Of course, DeLand is no exception.
— Bill Mancinik