Monday, October 31, 2016

Oldest House in Valdosta

This is the Roberts House, also known as the Wisenbaker-Wells-Roberts House, is not only the oldest house in Valdosta, but it actually pre-dates Valdosta’s 156-year history & the man who donated the land for Valdosta lived there! In 1840, 20 years before Valdosta was incorporated, a man named William E. Wisenbaker settled on a large tract of land in Lowndes County. In 1845, the Wisenbakers built their house. When the house was built, Troupville was the Lowndes County seat. By the late 1850s, a railroad was being built from Savannah to Montgomery. Tracks would pass through Lowndes County, but they found out it wouldn’t go through the county seat of Troupville. Instead, the railroad would be four miles to the East. Officials for Lowndes County wanted to move the county seat closer to the railroad. In 1859, Wisenbaker sold 125 acres of his property to the Lowndes County Commission. These 125 acres became Valdosta & was incorporated on Dec. 7, 1860. In 1863, Wisenbaker sold the house to J.W. Wells, a businessman and Valdosta mayor. The street that the Roberts house is on – Wells Street- was named after him! In 1891, Wells sold the land to John Taylor Roberts. He “was a successful businessman and political leader serving in city government as councilman and mayor from 1892-1914, a prosperous period in the history of Valdosta. Roberts and his descendants lived in the house for over 100 years, which is why it is now referred to simply as “The Roberts House” There is an old legend saying that J.T. Roberts would step onto the house’s second-story porch on a regular basis to watch the growing city of Valdosta. He claimed to have a “pretty fair view” of the town; Coincidentally, the Roberts house & neighborhood around it is currently called the “Fairview Historic District”!
Jay Blanton

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