By Pat Andrews
BEACON STAFF WRITER
posted Jan 23, 2012 - 5:26:48pm
The story has it all — from arson to archaeology, from politics to personal passion, from developers to determined conservationists — as The Story of Thornby: How Ordinary People Took on Government unfolds.
Enterprise resident and Thornby supporter Sandra Walters wrote the book. She will appear for a book-signing 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at The Muse Book Shop in DeLand.
Walters was one of the activists who fought for Thornby to become a passive park instead of being developed into a huge townhouse complex.
Thornby came to be when James Glass bought 80 acres in Enterprise on the shore of Lake Monroe in 1917. It came to be called "Thornby" for a friend of the Glass family, Jennie A. Thorn.
"Utter silence reigned," Walters wrote. "On the property then, as now, are flora and fauna that provide lessons about Florida's past — live oaks, slash pine, back gum, southern red cedar and southern magnolia trees, cabbage palm, wild blueberry, sparkleberry and more."
The property had been home to Native Americans, and is the site of a midden — an Indian dumping ground and a treasure trove for archaeologists. The property is also believed to include the site of Fort Kingsbury, built during the Second Seminole War, 1835-42.
The book contains this history, plus the history of Enterprise — the founding of Florida United Methodist Children's Home, the Brock House Hotel, the steamships that called on the port, and more.
Walters had planned to recount just the fight for the Thornby property, which began around the year 2000, but that seemed like stepping into the middle of the story. She had to explain why so many people are passionate about Thornby and Enterprise, she said.
Though the property was annexed into Deltona, "It is historically Enterprise, and should be Enterprise," Walters said.
There would have been a nice view of Lake Monroe from the development, "once they knocked down a few hundred trees," Walters said.
The land isn't even suitable for development, she added.
Along with stories of the earlier settlers, the book tells the story of the local people, members of the Enterprise Preservation Society and Friends of Thornby — people like Mark Matzinger, Larry French, Bob Sayre, and political figures such as County Council Member Pat Northey and Deltona Mayors Dennis Mulder and John Masiarczyk.
Why did Walters write the book?
"Everyone should know how it became Thornby Park, and how many people worked so hard to bring it about," she said.
In 2009, the City of Deltona purchased 38.2 acres of the remaining Thornby property for use as a park and all-inclusive playground for $3 million, half of that paid by the county's Volusia Forever program.
The story includes Walters' own evolution into an activist, and the lessons she learned.
Read more about the book online at www.thestoryofthornby.com.