In its heyday, which wasn’t all that long ago, Van Horne Manor and Crockett Gardens was the pride of Monroe – a great event venue that added warmth and southern charm to any special occasion. Located at 410 E Church Street in Monroe’s historic district, the Van Horne Manor hosted wedding, receptions, dinners and many social events.
But then the economy tanked and Van Horne Manor became one of the many casualties. The bank took it back and for a while it threatened to become just another eyesore.
But that all changed with a recent purchase of the property by MG Alignment, LLC. Plans are now under way to restore the major to its original splendor and turn it into a historic boutique hotel and event venue.
According to Sadie Krawczyk, Main Street director for Monroe Downtown, MG Alignment is the joint venture of two couples, Tom and Kimberly Mayfield and Joy and Thad Gilliam.
“They have always wanted a bed and breakfast and this presented that opportunity,” Krawczyk said, adding that they hope to have the venue – to be named Sparrow Hill Inn – open by early next year. “I think the bidding process has already begun.”
The Monroe City Council passed a resolution in support of the venture at the October council meeting.
“It will be funded in part by a Georgia Department of Community Affairs Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund and a SSBCI (State Small Business Credit Initiative),” Krawczyk said. “There is a shortage of lodging in the city and this will help fill that void. It will help when traveling ball teams come in and help support some of the overflow from Athens. This area is a wedding venue and the Wayfarer is often booked up.”
The Wayfarer Hotel is another small, boutique hotel in downtown Monroe. It has three upscale suites and is one of Monroe’s more elegant facilities. Krawczyk said plans for Sparrow Hill Inn indicate it too will not have many rooms, possibly just four or five suites.
“The first floor with be the conference facility and eating area and the plans for the second and third floor have either three rooms on one and two on the top floor or maybe just one large suite on the top floor,” Krawczyk said, adding plans include restoring the gardens. In the past, the gazebo and gardens were often used for weddings and receptions or other social events. Krawczyk said the property is seeped in local history and was once used as a haunted house.
History of the Van Horne Manor
According to the original Van Horne Manor website, the manor was built in 1890 by Dr. James T. Van Horne and his wife, Addie. He was a druggist and the proprietor of a drug store on Broad Street. The home was inherited by their children, David and Minnie Laura and was later cared for by Van Horne’s niece, Newell Van Horne Elder. It was sold to Judge Marvin W. Sorrells in 1971 and then to the Jackson family in 1974. According to the website, under the Jackson family ownership the property became an entertaining venue for many of the children in Monroe and is still affectionately known by many as “The Jackson House.” It was later acquired by Panache Monroe, LLC and restored to become the Van Horne Manor and Corbett Gardens.
Sparrow Hill Inn is on track to become the next era in the history of this beloved historic property in Monroe.