Deltona is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, located approximately half way between Orlando and Daytona Beach. It is the largest city in Volusia County, the largest city in the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach metropolitan area, and the second–largest city in Greater Orlando, with a 2011 census–estimated population of 85,219.
The city was founded in 1962 as a retirement community, and was named "Deltona Lakes." It was master-planned and developed by the General Development Corporation and the Mackle Brothers. The rapid development of housing units since its opening in 1962 led to a major population boom, eventually surpassing Daytona Beach as the largest city in Volusia County by the 2000 United States Census. This rapid development has also led to an almost entirely residential cityscape. Consequently, the city primarily functions as a bedroom community, and depends on surrounding communities for employment, shopping and entertainment.
The first inhabitants of southwest Volusia County were nomadic Timucuans, who found fish and fresh water plentiful in the area. After Florida became a state in 1845, steamboats began to make regular trips up the St. Johns River to Lake Monroe. A man named George Sauls, along with his wife Adeline and six children, were the first settlers in the area currently known as Deltona in 1859. The area, called Saulsville at the time, was about three miles (5 km) north of Osteen. Sauls' homestead, which caught on fire in 1970, was on what is now George Sauls Street in Deltona, which was also a historical site until the year 2000.
As visitors and residents continued to populate the state of Florida, a community grew up on the shores of Lake Monroe. The community, named Enterprise, developed a schoolhouse built in 1863, along with two churches.
Deltona was founded in 1962 as the "Deltona Lakes" subdivision, which was developed by the Miami-based Mackle Company as a retirement community. The subdivision, directly north of Enterprise, also included out-parcels for drainage retention, apartments, churches, parks, commercial centers, an industrial area, a community center, and a golf course. The name chosen for the community is a portmanteau of the Volusia County cities of DeLand and Daytona Beach. According to the 1970 U.S. Census, the Deltona Lakes CDP had an estimated population of 4,868, and a median age of 62; however, prior to the development of the Walt Disney World Resort, and the growth of the regional population, the subdivision was marketed to broader interests.
In 1974, the Deltona Lakes subdivision was approved as a planned unit development by the Volusia County Council. A housing boom occurred in the 1980s, and by 1990, the average age of the Deltona CDP was 35, and had a population of 51,000. The residents of the Deltona Lakes CDP voted in September 1995 to incorporate it as the city of Deltona, after two previous failed attempts to do so in 1987 and 1990. A city charter was adopted on September 9, 1995, and a seven-member commission was elected, and as of December 31, 1995, the City of Deltona became official.