ABOUT THE DELAND ARTISAN INN
A Brief History of the DeLand Hotel
In 1924, a local entrepreneur by the name of E.D. Barnhill had a vision to build a modest hotel for "snowbirds" traveling south to escape the cold northern winters. Though the original artists rendering shows the hotel's original dimension to be nearly twice as long as the finished product, this first vision was not fully realized, most likely due to budgetary constraints. University Terrace Architect Medwin Peek drafted the plans for the hotel and Andrew Bradshaw, a DeLand contractor who had earlier built the Athens Theater, supervised its construction. Owners Edwin D. and Jeanette Barnhill opened the hotel in February 1927. The Barnhill's arrived in DeLand in 1913 from Grand Rapids, Michigan and initially operated the McLeod Hotel at the corner of Florida and New York Avenues. Later, the Barnhills' took over the management of the Atlantic Hotel in Daytona Beach. Financing was assisted by the Howarth Family, who assumed ownership not long after completion of the hotel. Interestingly, E.D. Barnhill, in addition to his idea of the hotel, was also well known in the area for the construction of open-air tour buses that were constructed by connecting two Model T Fords, and established the first bus line between DeLand and Daytona Beach. Sadly, Jeanette died in 1928 and Edwin was declared insane the following year.
When the hotel was first built, there were more than 40 individual rooms, each with its own sink mounted to the wall. A closet further cramped each room. Two rooms shared a bathroom consisting of a tub and a toilet. Amazingly enough, during that period of time sharing a bath with just one other room was quite a rarity. Adding to the luxury the building even had a fire sprinkler system.
Over the years, the hotel clientele and condition deteriorated. During the early seventies, only a small amount of updating was done and a name change was implemented, re-christening it "The Landmark". During this period the hotel carried a somewhat seedy reputation. Newspaper articles have been found reporting the story of a guest who refused to pay his bill and was forced out by the owner with the help of local police. There was no violent confrontation, but the squad car that arrived sustained a slashed tire and the evictee went to jail. The hotel remained open in some fashion until around 1985 when it was purchased by a consortium of local family members who formed The Barnhill Corporation. They purchased the hotel along with the Shell gasoline station located next door, the Shell station was leveled and the hotel gutted of its plumbing fixtures and was eventually sealed shut for nearly 12 years. Over time, many of the windows were broken out and the roof deteriorated, allowing water and vermin to wear away at the old structure. For years it was home to pigeons, rats and vagrants and was an eyesore in downtown DeLand.
On December 26th, 1996, the old building caught the eye of two brothers who were looking for the appropriate site to set up a "small" establishment with the intention of diversification into the restaurant business. After several months of negotiations and consideration, John and Brett Soety, brothers from a small dairy farming community near Erie, Pennsylvania, found themselves to be the new owners of The Barnhill Corporation and its only asset ...the rundown Landmark Hotel. A new vision quickly developed and the long process of restoration and alteration began. Because most of the hotel was compartmentalized with numerous smaller rooms, plans were made to open up spaces. But this required a great deal of structural support. Initial inspections did not reveal the unusual framing of the original structure and after discovery, the steel requirements for the interior support cage ballooned. The work was slow because one wall at time had to be jacked, shored, demolished, and steel put back in place before the floor above was lowered onto it. After the structural modifications were completed, the rest of the building was completely gutted and updated in order to bring it up to current building code standards. A small ground floor patio, a roof top terrace and an elevator were all added as well.
Today, the completely renovated hotel houses a full-service restaurant, a separate lounge, approximately 2400 sq ft of banquet space, private meeting and dining room and eight individually appointed hotel suites with full amenities. The hotel was re-christened Deland ARTISAN Inn in 1999 by the Soety brothers in honor of the many past and present family members who were and are fine Pennsylvania craftsmen. The goal of the present family-owned business is to provide an environment to eat, sleep and be merry, not only for those in the DeLand area, but for those just passing through. Additional information available from the DeLand Historical Society.
The DeLand Artisan Inn Restoration Photo Gallery
Points of Interest:
An Arcade Facade, parapets, pent roof with ceramic tiles and stucco walls create an ambience of Mediterranean charm.
Originally the "MOM" arches, consisting of festoons and a central rondel was the main entrance to the restaurant and hotel. The double-doors are still there today.
All of the window frames were painstakingly restored in order to keep the original look of the structure
The Banquet hall was originally a cluster of very small rooms and during the renovation, the most dangerous room to work on.
The second floor bathrooms had to be built anew, along with the ARTISAN "A" set into the floor in front of the water fountain.
The Bar top in the Lounge, Hostess Stand, Banquet Hall and bathroom stalls were constructed completely from the old hotel room doors and 75 year old salvageable heart of pine flooring.
All the heart of pine flooring and brick face walls in the building are original.
The brick from the old chimneys was salvaged and was used to create the stage in both the Brick Dining room and Lounge.
DeLand Artisan Inn is proud to display original artwork created by local artisans and the National Museum of Women in Art. We do not accept commissions and sale of artwork is strictly through the artists.