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Valdosta Heritage Foundation and QUOLA Kitchen raise awareness on area historic preservation

VHF and QUOLA invited the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to educate the public on how to preserve historic buildings in the area.
Posted at 6:07 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 18:07:03-04
  • Valdosta is working on a Southside Historic District survey to see the area's needs.
  • Valdosta Heritage Foundation and the QUOLA Soup Kitchen is celebrating Historic Preservation Month.
  • Watch the video to hear from neighbors about why preserving Valdosta history is so important to them.


This neighborhood in our historic district has been standing since the early 1900s. Neighbors living here now would like to keep it that way.

"We're celebrating 156 years of service."

I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I'm speaking with neighbors about our history for Historic Preservation Month.

Jacqueline Carter is a member of First Antioch Baptist Church.

"Our founding father, Elbert Forest, was a slave. When he asked for permission to start First Antioch Baptist Church.

She has roots in the church tracing back generations.

"I has ancestors; my granddaddy used to ring the bell every Sunday morning when it was time for Sunday school."

Antioch has been here almost as long as the city of Valdosta itself: 156 years. That's why Jackie and other neighbors want to keep all the memories it holds for future generations. They're here at the Quola Soup Kitchen to find out how to do just that.

"We understand that we have a wealth of information information that we do not know about, and we're trying to learn about it because the church is so old that we want to know the programs that will help support us."

Valdosta's Heritage Foundation and the Quola Kitchen hosted the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to reach out to neighbors about how they can help with preservation efforts.

Valdosta and Lowndes County have been working to maintain these monuments; the 120 year old historic courthouse downtown had recently been restored, but Quola's own 89 year old Liberty Theater section was torn down in January.

Restoration and maintenance is costly; the courthouse was budgeted for $11 million; the reason the Liberty Theater was demolished was due to lack of funds to revitalize it.

That's why Antioch's pastor, John Robinson, tells me its important for neighbors to learn about grants and how to get them if they want their own history preserved.

"Antioch is a very unique church, and it's been here for 156 years, and it's been historically preserved; we do need the assistance as well as all of the churches here in town."

Our city is is on a mission to preserve our history, thanks to Valdosta State University Archives receiving a $22,205 grant, making South Georgia history accessible to all!In Valdosta, I'm Malia Thomas, reporting for ABC27.