ALACHUA ‒ On Main Street in Alachua stands a magnificent Victorian Mansion known as the Williams-Leroy House. Registered in the National Historic Registry, it stands three stories tall, covering over 7,000 square feet with four bedrooms, five dining areas, six toilets and baths, a commercial kitchen, and a peaceful courtyard complete with a gazebo and a waterfall. Built in 1902, the house's history is entwined in the beginnings of Alachua and has seen a number of owners.
The original owner, Furman B. Williams, is credited with helping establish the town of Alachua with his brothers, Charles and Jack. In 1998 a wealthy business man from Philadelphia bought the house from the family. He was a member of the Hare Krishna religion and turned the house over to a local chapter to create both a vegetarian restaurant for the public and a meditation center for the local Krishna community. The Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant opened in in 1999 and continued until 2007.
When it closed, Marjorie (Mimi) Hale and her daughters leased the place for the Ivy House Restaurant. The restaurant was a local favorite until it closed in 2012. In 2018, Mike Case and Kim Heniger bought the property with plans to open an event venue and restaurant. The house and kitchen needed major renovations and they put a significant amount of money into their dream, but ultimately, the COVID pandemic took its toll and their dream came to an end.
Today the Manor is coming back to life with a new owner, transforming the house to its former glory and creating a unique historic event venue and restaurant. Owner Salvie Andreola has come a long way. Orphaned at the age of six, Salvia and her siblings survived by receiving financial support for school and daily food from the local Baptist Church through a benevolent international sponsor. When she was old enough, she worked to support herself and siblings. Working first as a housemaid from a young age, Andreola continued her education learning new jobs and careers, first in the Philippines, then Singapore and eventually Hawaii.
In Maui, she began fresh as a bank teller and later transitioned into a billing encoder at a local hospital. After her husband passed away, Andreola assumed the family business. “It was a challenge being a single parent of a minor child. I was managing a high-volume revenue-clientele of a merchant credit card processing company,” Andreola said. “It was a very stressful time.” Given the high cost of living in paradise and raising a child by herself, Andreola moved to Gainesville, where she started a new ambitious venture as a real estate investor.
She currently owns and manages luxury properties both domestically and internationally. From homelessness to home building, and now, on to historic restoration, Andreola’s life story demonstrates her willingness to take risks, endure long hours of hard work, and triumph in life’s struggles.
Now, she is again heading in a new direction with her vision for the Manor on Main. “Now, I am booking for weddings, parties, corporate meetings, and cultural events currently operating as a venue rental,” said Andreola. Her long-term plan is to hand over the operational business management.
“The manor was once a well-known restaurant, which the people in the community profoundly enjoyed and greatly miss,” Andreola said. “My ultimate dream for the manor is to make this place a destination where people look forward to coming at the end of a hard-working day to listen to live music, sip a glass of wine, unwind, and enjoy the company of friends and family.”
The Manor on Main is located at 14603 Main Street and will have an official ribbon cutting on Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. That evening, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be an open house with refreshments and live music to welcome the community to the revitalized mansion.
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