MagnoliaPlantation BairdMansion1896The house was constructed in 1885 by Dudley and Melinza Williams. Dudley was a lumberman at the time and the quality of the woodwork throughout the house is a testimony to his profession. The house is known locally as the Baird Mansion, named for the family that owned and lived here for almost 70 years. Emmett Baird was a local businessman who owned and operated the Standard Crate Company and a sawmill at the Hague. During the period from the late 1960’s to 1990 the house was occupied by various groups including hippies and college students. It became a mecca for the east coast hippie movement in Gainesville in the late 1960’s. The Baird Mansion was purchased by Cindy and Joe Montalto in 1990 and restored into the Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast Inn. The restoration has kept the home’s original floor plan including the double parlors, five bedrooms, a dining room and butler’s pantry.

The Victorian Style of the house, uncommon in the southeastern United States is called French Second Empire. The style is characterized by the mansard roof and the tall frontal tower. The house retains its original red and green slate roof, which is another characteristic of the style. The home has a full three stories with a fourth level in the tower creating 5400 sq. feet of living space. The third floor has been remodeled as living space for the Montalto’s. This space was originally the site of many parties and ballroom dancing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Another unique feature is the ten original fireplaces throughout the house. There is one in every room on the first and second floor.

Baird Mansion 1885 01As with most grand old houses and this one is no different, a legend has developed concerning the most prominent owner of the house, Emmett Baird. Emmett allegedly found a treasure chest belonging to Black Caesar, Billy "bow leg" Rogers, Gaspar, and John La Fite at Fowlers Bluff, on the Suwannee River, in the late 1800’s. Legend has it that he used his treasure to make his fortune and purchase this house. He was supposed to have buried the remains of the treasure in this house before he died in the 1920’s. Before you start looking for the treasure please remember we "gutted" the house in the 1990 restoration. We uncovered decades of neglect to reveal the historic treasure you see before you, no pirate treasure was found, sorry!

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Reservations Guest Comments

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Cindy & Joe Montalto
309 S.E. Seventh Street
Gainesville, Florida 32601

Information:   (352) 375-6653
Reservations: (800) 201-2379

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