The Laurel Oak Inn
Table Of Contents
The Laurel Oak Inn-Superior lodging in Gainesville, Florida.
This lovingly restored 1885 Queen Anne Victorian home is located in the Southeast Historic District, a short walk from downtown.
The Laurel Oak Inn is a grand "Painted Lady" surrounded by lush lawns and tall oaks that provide cover for abundant wildlife and cool vistas which are best viewed from the comfortable furniture on our many porches. Our six fireplaces (and one woodstove!) make wonderful spots to curl up with a book on a cool winter's day.
Our five bedchambers have unique furnishings with private baths for a 'feel' of their own. We feature king and queen-sized beds (three are Swedish Tempur-Pedic) with premium linens, period antiques, ceiling fans and a fireplace or wood stove. Three Ultra thermo-massage tubs. One has its own private second floor porch and one is handicapped accessible.. All have VERY high speed wireless Internet access, free parking and flat panel TV's with 70 channels. Rates: $125 to $199 per evening inclusive of a full, served gourmet breakfast and complimentary beverages during our social hour from 5 to 6 PM.
Monta and Peggy are high school sweethearts (no ages, but we did graduate in '69!) who were both raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Monta graduated from Penn State and Peggy from Bucknell University. We were married in 1973. We have two beautiful daughters, Megan and Lauren, both graduates of the University of Florida. We spent 16 years in south Florida and sought the lifestyle change and beauty of Gainesville and a major university environment. We're proud to have been able to resurrect this property and are excited at the prospect of sharing time with you.
Our goal is to provide the ambiance of a grand Victorian home with modern conveniences, quality products, great food and exceptional service. We strive to maintain a relaxed, home-like atmosphere. Whether you need assistance with selecting a restaurant or finding your way to your favorite event, we're here to make your experience pleasurable.
- The University of Florida's Shands Teaching Medical Center, the North Florida Regional Medical Center and the Malcom Randall Veterans Medical Center are close by. We're centrally located amidst some of the finest antique shops in North Florida. Then there's golf, canoeing, tubing, biking and bird watching! Or, if you prefer, relax and do nothing!
- Each afternoon enjoy complimentary beverages as you prepare for your dinner at one of the many outstanding restaurants located just a short stroll away in Gainesville's bustling downtown. Your bath is stocked with premium hair care products, salts and soaps. Our full breakfast is served between 8 and 9:30 am. During the day, help yourself to a cold beverage in our guest refrigerator located by the entertainment center
History of the Inn
The Lassiter House was constructed on this site in 1885 by Wilburn Lassiter and his second wife, Fanny. The Southeast Historic District was the earliest "suburb" of Gainesville, lying just outside the town limits which, at the time, stopped at the Sweetwater Branch.
This house and the neighboring Baird mansion were built on five acre parcels which dominated the block.
Wilburn Lassiter was born in 1815 in Troy, North Carolina. Success in an early land lottery brought him to Gainesville, Florida to seek his fortune. The family would spend the summer in Gainesville, Georgia and enjoy the North Georgia mountains. They would then return to Gainesville, Florida in the colder months. He passed away in 1888 and is buried in Gainesville's Evergreen Cemetery south of town with his second wife, Fanny.
The Lassiter family sold the house to William Reuben Thomas in 1920. He converted it into two apartments, one on each floor, and made substantial modifications. The house was electrified (it was already plumbed for coal gas lighting fixtures), the stair railing and baluster were removed to create a hallway from the porch to the second floor apartment and primitive plumbing was installed. This change made it impossible to travel from the first floor to the second without going outside the house. The kitchen was eliminated in favor of creating an additional bedroom.
The most dramatic exterior modification was the addition of a Craftsman style two-story sleeping porch on the southwest corner of the house. This new feature changed the massing of the house and hid the elaborate three-sided bay and the unique mansard on the third floor.
In 1938, the house was again divided, this time into four apartments. Four small (very!) kitchens and baths were added and the property began its life as a four unit apartment building.
Its condition began to deteriorate through the fifties and sixties. This area was known as "Hippie Hill" and Gainesville was known as the "Berkely of the Southeast". Rumor has it that a certain Tom Petty was a tenant in the late sixties when his formative band, Mudcrutch, was the local rage. The house was actually condemned in 1979, but somehow survived until the early nineties when it was purchased by Butch and Joyce Redstone. The Redstones planned to convert the property into a Bed and Breakfast Inn and did major renovations which stabilized the condition of the house.
Monta and Peggy Burt bought the house in April of 1999 and began a two year odyssey to restore it to its former floor plan and ambience. The Laurel Oak Inn opened in November of 2001.
We invite you to share our joy when you stay with us.
The Library has double, spoon-carved Eastlake doors that enter the bedchamber. There is a queen-sized bed and a full bath with roll-in shower that is equipped with a hand-held spray. All bathroom fixtures are of the proper height for comfort. The entire first floor of the Inn is smoothly accessible from parking pad through graded walks and a ramp with oversized door to enter our home. The bedchamber is equipped with H/C safety system indicators.