Category Archives: Valdosta GA
These derelict warehouses are well-known landmarks in downtown Valdosta. Multiple tenants have occupied them over the past century.
The W. L. Wisenbaker Company, wholesale grocer, was one of the earliest tenants. Others have included the Thomas Dekle Hardware Company, Valdosta Paper Company, Pearce & Skinner, and Mutual Candy Company.
The ghost signs are popular with photographers.
Valdosta Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Originating in Berrien and Cook counties, the Withlacoochee River flows south through Brooks and Lowndes counties then crosses into Madison and Hamilton counties in Florida. It merges with the Suwanee River near Live Oak and eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
There’s another Withlacoochee River, originating in the Green Swamp near Polk City, Florida, and emptying directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Kayakers sometimes refer to Georgia’s river as Withlacoochee North. It’s believed the Florida river is named for the Georgia river. The origin of the name is thought to be Muskogean/Creek, loosely translated as little big water or river of lakes.
The Withlacoochee is a relatively low river in general, but was particularly so when I made these photographs in the winter of 2012. The river was suffering the effects of a drought at the time. It’s best known by kayakers and a few intrepid anglers. Bowfin (Amia calva) a cousin of gar, is common in most runs of the Withlacoochee and though not generally taken for food, is a popular, if exotic, sport variety.
There’s little literature or historical writing to be found on the Withlacoochee. It’s well-known to locals, but beyond its moss-draped banks, very few people are even aware of it. Most published lore on the Withlacoochee can be credited to the paddle sport community.
There are a few private campsites along the river but access is quite limited.
The growth of Valdosta and pollution from industrial agriculture near the river are putting a strain on this fragile environment, but ultimately, the river makes its presence known.
A neighborhood near the spot these photographs were made has been known to flood on several occasions when the river receives heavy winter and spring rains. Interstate 75 passes within a half-mile of this area, as well.
There’s a timeless feel to this wilderness, even in its most urban setting. At low water, one could theoretically “walk” the river for as far as he wished.
Today, the Withlacoochee-Willacoochee-Alapaha-Little-Upper Suwannee Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is working to make the public more aware of the smaller and lesser known rivers of this section of South Georgia. Through education and pollution monitoring, they’re beginning to make a real impact.
This 70s landmark was once one of the most popular restaurants in Valdosta. Today, just an empty building and this old sign remain. I’ve been told that Burt Reynolds used to pass through Valdosta on occasion and always picked up a pile of barbeque at C. H. Mitchell’s when he was there. Don’t know if that’s true, or just urban legend, but I like it.
Colonel William S. West, who served as a United States Senator, built the Crescent between 1897-1899. It is the grandest mansion in all of Valdosta. It was saved from impending demolition by three ladies of the Valdosta Garden Club and in 1951 became home to all the city’s garden clubs.
It serves as the centerpiece of the Valdosta Garden Center, which also features beautiful formal gardens and outbuildings, and has played host to countless weddings and formal functions over the years. It’s open to the public Monday through Friday from 2 PM to 5 PM, but closed during major holidays and private events.
Damon Olson, who spent five years in college at Valdosta State, reminded me that a photo of the Crescent was used for many years on the box of Winn-Dixie’s “Georgia Crackers” brand.
If you’re ever in Valdosta, stop by and walk around the grounds. It’s an enlightening place.
National Register of Historic Places
This house was designed by L. F. Brown. It later became the home of Judge John Gordon Cranford, a mayor of Valdosta. It was later purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Paul W. Cribbs, Sr., who completed its restoration in 1984.
Concentrated in an area of River, Varneodoe, and Wells Streets and Central Place, the village of Fairview predates the incorporation of the City of Valdosta. The neighborhood underwent three periods of development: 1840-1860; the late 1890s Victorian surge; and the 1910-1920s period of Prairie and Craftsman influence. The Fairview Neighborhood Association was instrumental in the formation of the Valdosta Heritage Foundation in 1981. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1984, the neighborhood is a model of community reinvestment through historic preservation.
Fairview Historic District, National Register of Historic Places