The names we give each of our products are important to us. Not only do we want the names to be fun but we also want the names to tell a story. That story may be about the ingredients that go into the product, how or why the product came about, or in the case of Wilcox Cider, the history of our great little town of DeLand.
Let's start with a brief history of DeLand just in case you blinked during that 3.2 nanoseconds in your high school history class. Check out the Florida Historical Society for more great tales of Florida Frontiers.
In 1876, businessman Henry A. DeLand left his home in Fairport, New York, to visit his sister and brother-in-law in east central Florida. Henry DeLand left New York on a train to Jacksonville. From there he took a steamboat down the St. Johns River to Enterprise. A horse and buggy carried him the rest of the way to his sister’s isolated home. DeLand was so impressed with the beauty and climate of the area that he decided to start a town there.
Using the fortune he had accumulated from manufacturing baking soda in New York, DeLand purchased large tracks of land near his sister's homestead. The area was called Persimmon Hollow, but when the scattered settlers heard about DeLand’s plans to establish a town, they voted to name it after him. To entice others to settle in his new town, DeLand made a generous offer.
Henry DeLand told people that if they moved to his town and decided that they were unhappy there, he would buy back the land that he sold to them.
Families started moving to the town of DeLand, most growing citrus or other crops. Henry DeLand nicknamed his town “The Athens of Florida,” and worked to foster cultural, religious, and educational opportunities for residents.
A fire burned much of downtown DeLand in 1886. It destroyed the 100 block of Woodland Boulevard on both sides. Following the blaze, the town passed an ordinance that allowed only brick buildings to be constructed in the commercial district. Many wooden homes that survived the fire still stand in DeLand.
The fire started in The Wilcox Saloon.
So now we know where the name Wilcox comes from but why chose that name for our cider? Out of all the significant names in DeLand's early history, why this one?
As it turns out, our humble little meadery just so happens to sit very near to the same spot as the infamous Wilcox Saloon. And the rest is, shall we say, HISTORY