Maitland, one of the oldest incorporated municipalities in Central Florida, is a city rich in history. The area was once called Fumecheliga (Musk Mellon Place) by the Seminole Indians before it was established as Fort Maitland in 1838 by the U.S. Army. When the Indian wars ceased and the fort had been torn down, people began settling in this area because of the natural spring water and extensive pine forests. At the close of the Civil War, settlers came buying large tracts of land, clearing them and planting citrus groves.
By 1876 the orange trees were coming into production and difficulty in marketing the fruit caused Dr. Haskell, of the Boston Herald newspaper, to form a syndicate and construct a railroad from Jacksonville to Maitland. This was completed to Maitland in 1880 and for several years, Maitland had an ice factory, two livery stables, and besides the citrus groves, a large packing house in the center of town. As many as 300,000 boxes of fruit were to be shipped each season. The city was incorporated as the Town of Lake Maitland in 1885. After two years of devastating, tree killing freezes in 1894 and 1895, many of the grove owners were so financially affected that they left Florida. The town survived, however, and wealthy visitors kept coming to enjoy the climate. By 1926, Maitland had its largest year in citrus.
In the 1950’s the space age had the eyes of the nation on Central Florida. The Martin Marietta Corporation, as we know it today, moved from Baltimore to Orlando. Families were moved down in contingents of two or three hundred at a time. Due to its proximity to the plant, Maitland became a natural place for them to come. In 1959 a new city charter changed the name from Lake Maitland to Maitland.
The growth of the city continued to spiral during the 1970’s. Between 1972 and 1979, five branch banking establishments moved to Maitland, and twelve new residential subdivisions were developed. Late in the 1970’s, 226 acres of land were purchased by an Atlanta, Georgia firm and developed into Maitland Center west of Interstate 4. Maitland Center is within the city limits and continues to grow.
While growth continues, residents of the city are proud of the city’s past and actively pursue preservation of historical residences.