A Brief History of Valdosta, Georgia

The city of Valdosta traces its beginnings to the creativity of the residents of its first residents. In 1837, the City of Troupville became the county seat. When the Gulf and Atlantic Railroad decided to put a right-of-way four miles south of Troupville, the citizens of Troupville made an interesting move to ensure the future prosperity of their town—they picked it up and moved it four miles. The town was then renamed Valdosta, in honor of “Val d’Aosta,” the plantation home of former Governor George Troup. In 1860, Valdosta was incorporated as the new county government seat.

The regional economy revolved around the production and transportation of agricultural products, principally short-staple cotton, and later Sea Island cotton. Valdosta soon became the largest inland Sea Island cotton exchange in the world. By 1899, Valdosta was the smallest city in America to install a public transit system.

During the prosperous years at the turn of the century, Valdosta saw the construction of several notable landmarks, including the Lowndes County Courthouse and the former Post Office, which now houses Valdosta City Hall.

Most of Valdosta’s commercial architecture was constructed along the two main north – south thoroughfares: Ashley and Patterson Streets. Downtown Valdosta’s buildings exhibit a wide array of locally adapted construction techniques and styles that were nationally prevalent at the turn of the century. Among the architectural periods represented are the Victorian Era, Eclectic Era, Modernistic, and the Neo-Eclectic Era.

Through two world wars and The Great Depression, Downtown Valdosta remained a vibrant part of social, commercial, and political activity that lasted well into the 1950’s.

The 1960’s and 1970’s brought hard times to the downtown area, but the 1980’s brought renewed prosperity with Valdosta’s selection as a Main Street City in 1984. And the historic preservation ordinance established in 1981 started Downtown Valdosta’s revitalization and has allowed this historic city a come back, establishing itself once again as a center for business, government and culture.

Since 1984, the stately appearance of the downtown streets and storefronts has earned Valdosta repeat National Main Street Certifications and awards from the Georgia Downtown Association. Home to over 120 restaurants, shops, government agencies, and churches, Valdosta Main Street is alive with active residents and businesses of the city. It’s the place to be, open a business, purchase affordable housing or property, grab a quick bite or enjoy a fine dining experience, stroll tree-shaded sidewalks, window shop, experience unique architecture and history, or visit friends.

Downtown Valdosta is a lifestyle: it’s where people want to live, work, play, dine, and shop. We have built partnerships, invested in the future, created opportunity and improved the quality of life for citizens and visitors.

Not only is Valdosta an award-winning Georgia Main Street City and National Certified Main Street City, it’s also: a City of Excellence, City of Ethics, Tree City, 8th Best Place to Locate a Restaurant in the Nation, 3rd Best Metropolitan Area for Industrial Recruitment/Expansion, 5th Best Location for Logistics in the Nation, one of eleven Great Southern Places to Retire, Georgia’s Best Adventure Town, and ESPN’s TitleTown USA!

Visit Downtown Valdosta and experience it for yourself. Request a Valdosta Vacation Planner!


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