The History of Maitland


With a population of 21,000, Maitland is one of Central Florida’s most attractive cities, thanks to its active art and history community, friendly neighborhoods, growing downtown area, and beautiful, tree-filled parks.


The City’s Rich History

As one of the oldest incorporated municipalities in Central Florida, Maitland has a rich history. It was originally called Fumecheliga (Musk Mellon Place) by the Seminole Indians. In 1838, the United States Army established it as Fort Maitland, naming it after Captain William Seton Maitland, a hero of the Seminole Wars. Ironically, Captain Maitland died in a battle near Tampa and never set foot in this area.


Fort Maitland, built on the west shore of Lake Maitland, was intended to be a rest stop between Fort Mellon (Sanford) and Fort Gatlin (Orlando). At the time, visitors could only get to Central Florida by boat from Jacksonville, traveling down the St. Johns River to Fort Mellon. They then finished the trip by horse or foot.


Once the Seminole Wars ended and the fort had been torn down, settlers began arriving in this area because of the natural spring water and thick pine forests. At the close of the Civil War, residents bought large parcels of land and planted citrus groves. By 1876, the orange trees were producing fruit, but grove owners faced marketing difficulties. To solve this problem, Dr. Haskell of the Boston Herald newspaper constructed a railroad between Jacksonville and Maitland.


The Growth of Maitland

Incorporated as Lake Maitland in 1885, it became the third town in Orange County. The town was also home to an ice factory, two livery stables, and a large packing house. Additionally, a large hotel called Park House was built between Park Lake and Lake Catherine. It became a winter resort for famous people, even attracting two presidential guests: Grover Cleveland and Chester Arthur.


Unfortunately, after two devastating freezes in 1894 and 1895, many of the grove owners left Florida. The town remained, though, and wealthy visitors continued coming to Central Florida for the warm weather. The citrus groves also made a comeback, with Maitland experiencing its most fruitful year yet in 1926.


By the 1950s, the space industry had its eyes on Central Florida. The Martin Marietta Corporation moved from Baltimore to Orlando, with many of the workers and their families relocating to Lake Maitland due to its convenient location.


In 1959, a new city charter changed the town’s name to Maitland. The population growth fueled construction, and in the 1960s, supermarkets, churches, condominiums, restaurants, and more were built. In 1971, Disney World opened, and thanks to the theme park, Maitland continued to see growth despite a national recession.


Present-Day Maitland

As a nod to Maitland’s storied past, a “historical corridor” has been established that includes old residences in the Lake Lily-Lake Catherine area. Some of these century-old structures are the Church of the Good Shepherd (built in 1883), the William H. Waterhouse House (1884), and the Hill-Stone House (1908).


Maitland is one of the best suburbs in the Orlando area. Locals appreciate the beautiful landscape and enjoyable climate as well as the strong economy. Young professionals and families flock to Maitland for the diversity, safety, and above-average public school system.


Like much of the country, the real estate market in Maitland is booming! Currently, the median listing price is $425,000 at $249 per square foot. Coldwell Banker Realty has over 65 listings in the area.



Check out the other posts in the blog series to learn more about the communities of Central Florida:


Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs! Contact Christine Elias at caerealestate@gmail.com.

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