BY LARRY FRENCH
It’s been the elephant in the room. The Putnam Hotel is one of DeLand’s lasting landmarks. DeLand’s grand dame is full of history and memories.
For over a century, people coming to visit the “Athens of Florida” stayed and enjoyed the Putnam’s charm and comforts. Bert Fish, DeLand notable and U.S. ambassador to Egypt, lived at the Putnam.
The hotel has past ties to the town’s origins and has endured fires, The Great Freeze and, most recently, the blind eye of those who have benefited from its long legacy.
So why have we stood back and been willing to watch this grand dame of our past slowly crumble away? Is it apathy or greed?
Whichever it is, this link to our past deserves better than a languishing death.
What happened to that determination and drive that began the restoration, recycling and repurposing of historic Downtown DeLand in the 1980s?
When we allow the reminders of our past to disappear, we forget our roots. We lose our vision of who we are and how we got to where we are.
The Putnam Hotel is a big part of DeLand. Fix it!
— French, of Deltona, is a local historian and author of Grand Hotels of West Volusia County, an illustrated history that includes the Putnam Hotel. He and his wife guide visitors through historic Downtown DeLand on foodie tours with their business Great Tasting Tours.