The History Of Valdosta, Georgia

A history of the charming southern town of Valdosta, Georgia.

The city of Valdosta is in the southern most part of Georgia, less that twenty miles from the Florida state line. The city of Valdosta and the entire Lowndes County area has always been a charming township. Some of the area's earliest known settlers were the Creek and Seminole Indians, later followed by the Spanish missionaries and the American pioneers. The beautiful landscape and scenery of south Georgia, coupled with the pleasant climate that lasts all year round, have persuaded many people to make their homes in Valdosta over the years.

Lowndes County was established in the year 1825. Franklinville was the first county seat and was established in 1828. Franklinville remained the county seat until 1837, when Troupville, named for former Governer George Troup, took its place.

Things in Lowndes County remained complacent until the Gulf and Atlantic Railroad initiated the installation of a right-of-way four miles south of the town of Troupville. The citizens of Troupville decided to make a valiant move that would help to guarantee the future prosperity of the town - they moved the town four miles to be closer to the railway's crossing. After its move, the town was renamed Valdosta, in honor of "Val d'Aosta," the plantation home of former Governor George Troup. Valdosta was incorporated as the new seat of county government in 1860.

The business district in Valdosta experienced a great deal of growth between 1890 until the late 1920s. Most of the city's historic buildings were constructed during this era. The Downtown, Victorian Fairview and Patterson Street areas are all three listed with the National Register Historic Districts. The Valdosta Heritage Foundation is dedicated to preserving and restoring historic homes and buildings throughout the city. There has been a great deal of restoration in the recent years, restoring many of the old southern mansions, that had once been run-down and shabby, into the elegant estates they once were.

The restoration of the lovely homes have provided Valdosta with the original charm and beauty that has beckoned newcomers to the area for centuries.

Agriculture

Agriculture has always been a booming industry in Valdosta. The area's most important material, pine trees, is grown and harvested for a wide variety of uses. As a result of the pine tree industry, logging is a large industry in the area and provides jobs for many of the area's residents. The rich soil of southern Georgia makes harvesting crops of pecans, peanuts, cotton and tobacco a lucrative business. Vidalia onions, peaches and other fruits and vegetables are also grown in Valdosta. The city is also home to several big name and well known companies, including Levi-Strauss and Crackin' Good Bakery.



Education

Valdosta State University first open its doors to students in 1913. VSU now has nearly 10,000 students, both local and from afar, that currently attend classes. Valdosta State College was started in the year 1906 and officially received University status on July 1, 1993. The school, which is home of the Valdosta Blazers, is large enough to offer its students a wide variety of academic and social opportunities while it is still small enough to provide its attendants the personal attention that they would receive at a selective private school.

Attractions and Amenities

Modern day Valdosta still retains the charming, southern hospitality as days of old. The city boasts a university, Valdosta State University, Moody Air Force Base, more than one hundred churches, an amusement park, and a national park. Valdosta is often referred to as "The Azalea City" because of the vast variety of azaleas that bloom during the spring months.

Wild Adventures

Georgia's newest theme park features wild animals, wild rides, and exciting shows that will entertain the entire family. The Safari Adventure offers vistors the opportunity to see wild animals in their natural habitats. There is also a petting zoo, where children young and old can get up close and personal with sheep, goats and other exciting species of animals. Wild Adventures also features a variety of rides, shows, concerts and food to make your visit to Valdosta extra special .

Grand Bay Wildlife Management Areas

The Grand Bay Wildlife Managemet area is a protected wetland that is second in size only to the Okeefenokee Swamp. Visitors and educational groups are welcome to explore the area on foot, throughout the numerous trails and boardwalks, or by boat through the Blackgum Swamp.

Year-Round Fun

The Valdosta Parks and Recreation Department maintains more than twenty parks throughout the city that are perfect for sporting events, picnicks and family fun. There are also fifteen tennis courts and five beautifully landscape golf courses for the sport enthusiasts.

To learn more about Valdosta's history and continued growth, walking tours of the city are provided in various areas of town. Tours are also available of many of the city's historic homes, such as the Crescent, which is now the headquarters for the Valdosta Garden Center, and the Barber Pittman House, which was home to the first Coca-Cola bottler outside of Atlanta and now houses the Chamber of Commerce.

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