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Valdosta Heritage Foundation working to restore city's oldest house

This home has seen four wars, numerous hurricanes, and even a pandemic.
Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-16 18:31:11-04
  • The Valdosta Heritage Foundation is working to preserve Valdosta's oldest home.
  • It was build in 1845 by pioneer farmer William Wisenbaker.
  • Watch the video above to see what's planned.


Take a look at this house. It's not just any home. It's Valdosta's oldest home.

I'm Malia Thomas, in Valdosta, and I'm here at the Wisenbaker-Wells-Roberts home to see how the Valdosta Heritage Foundation is looking to restore it to its former glory.

This home has seen four wars, numerous hurricanes, and even a pandemic, and here it still stands, just like many houses in the Fairview District.

This is Wesley Jacobsen. He has lived here with his wife for a year, and something he appreciates about the historic district is, "character in Valdosta. It's really just sick and it feels like home."

He says historic houses like these are art.

"I lived in Charleston for eight years Charleston, SC. That's where I went to college and I mean that's like the king of historic cities in the United States, at least one of them, and so a lot of these style houses that have character. Me and my wife are both artists so we really want something that's not plain Jane and just like a cookie cutter house."

According to Jessica Ganas, character is something the Wisenbaker house definitely has.

"It was a one-story, four bedroom home that they called a dogtrot. So it was a small, modest home for the family, and over the years, it was just added on as the family grew."

The Wisenbaker home is older than Valdosta itself. It was build in 1845 by pioneer farmer William Wisenbaker.

In 1859, Wisenbaker offered 144 acres of land to Georgia Assembly commissioners so they might establish a town along the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, and people flocked to the area as the industrial era was booming. A year later, Valdosta was established.

Since then, many structures have come and gone with the times, and the VHF is determined to keep the city's flagship building.

"Throughout the 60s and 70s, we lost so many pieces of architecture that we really wish we still had today."

Jessica tells me that the estimate cost of the project will be over half a million dollars.

"It takes a great deal of support from the community to revitalize the historic piece of history like this so we have had some very wonderful private donors who have helped."

Those donors even gave them the idea to do house tours of famed architect Lloyd Greer to raise money. While successful, the VHF has a long way to go before their dream is realized.

VHF received permission to covert the building to a bed and breakfast with a live-in lager once restoration is complete.