Fronted by a circa 1905 historic house, The Mansion has some history! We’ll tell it to you here, but don’t worry, there won’t be a test.
The Mansion, a three-story house at 1218 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne, was originally known as The Queen Anne. Built in 1905, it was the winter home of Nannie McBride Lee and her husband, John B. Lee. Not long after the house was completed, however, the couple started living in it year-round.
Nannie Lee quickly became active in the Melbourne community, and the house became the center for numerous social, religious and civic activities, among them: Nannie’s memorable ice-cream socials.
In its early years, the sturdy house occasionally served as a hurricane shelter. It’s particularly fine oak staircase, bay window, and gingerbread trim were crafted by the Lees’ neighbor, a boat builder and carpenter named Claude Beaujean. Beaujean’s family operated the Atlantic Ferry service, which crossed the Indian River five times each day before a bridge linked the city to the nearby beaches.
When Nannie Lee passed away in 1929, the house became the property of her adopted daughter, Lily Tidwell. Lily and her husband, then the owner of Melbourne’s only gas station, raised their children in the house and lived there until Lily’s death. Her heirs sold the property.
It was first rented and then left empty until its former owners bought it in 1975. They spent six years restoring the dilapidated mansion; removing layers of old paint from handsome oak beams, iconic columns and an ornate fireplace. A successful restaurant was open and operated for many years.
Closing in 2005, the property sat vacant until it was purchased in 2010. New owners, Dean and Beth DiGiacinto began work to create a new food and entertainment complex, one that was unique to Melbourne and, well, everywhere else! With a commitment to honor the history of the building, and preserve the House that was Home to the community, Dean and Beth set out to transform the building.
What was once a home that was used to bring people together for ice cream socials, and to protect them from damaging storms, a home that became a restaurant where many were married, celebrated special events or just came to relax, is now a home to a new generation’s celebrations, events and gatherings. A home where hospitality is number one and fun abounds, a place where folks can come and enjoy all different types of food and drink in a unique and comfortable atmosphere. The Mansion! Welcome Home.