Known as Valdosta’s oldest house, a residential structure has stood on the property at 206 Wells Street since at least 1845. This home is located in the Fairview Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
William E. Wisenbaker, a farmer and Lowndes County pioneer, built the original house in 1845. It was a one-story, four-room, wood frame dogtrot cabin, constructed upon a raised, brick pier foundation. Wisenbaker married Lydia Ann Crews in 1839 and they had 11 children, all born at this house. In 1859, Wisenbaker sold 144 acres of his land to commissioners of the Georgia Assembly for the purpose of establishing a new town on the new Atlantic & Gulf rail line. Many residents of Troupville moved to Valdosta to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the railroad. The new town of Valdosta was chartered on December 7, 1860. Between 1859 and 1863, Wisenbaker enlarged the house into a two-story, ten-room “planter’s home” or Plantation Plain house, featuring a two-story front porch with columns running the entire height of the house. In 1863, Wisenbaker sold the house to William N. Peacock and moved to what would later become Lake Park.
William N. Peacock owned house from 1863 until his death in 1866. Peacock was possibly a teacher, as it is thought he ran a school in the house. He was married to Anna M. Peacock, and they had at least four children, according to the 1860 U.S. Census for Madison, Florida. Peacock likely died in the house, as his widow sold the house in 1866 after his death.
Jeremiah W. Wells bought the house 1866. He was a merchant and farmer and had served in the Civil War. Wells was Mayor of Valdosta from 1881-1882. Wells Street in the Fairview neighborhood is named for him. He was married to Mary A. Wells, and they had at least six children.
John T. Roberts bought the house in 1891. He was a merchant and owned a prominent buggy/harness business and building downtown. He served on the City Council from 1892 until 1906 and was Mayor of Valdosta from 1906-1916. In 1895, Roberts began the renovation of the house into the Folk Victorian/Queen Anne style house present today. Locally prominent architect Stephen Fulghum designed and led the renovation. Roberts was married to Kate (Catherine) Margaret Young and they had nine children. The house was owned by Roberts’ descendants until 1982. In 1996, it was purchased by two of Roberts’ granddaughters and subsequently donated to the Valdosta Heritage Foundation (VHF) in 1999.
Along with donations, VHF received several grants to restore the house, which had fallen into disrepair in the 1980s-90s. With restoration 85% complete, on January 26, 2011, the house was nearly destroyed by fire caused by an electrical short. From May 2011 to August 2012, VHF had damaged parts of the exterior and the roof rebuilt. The interiors and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other building systems remained unfinished for a number of years. Over the last few years, VHF has worked on developing a plan for the rebuild of the interiors. In 2019, VHF received permission to covert the house into a bed and breakfast that will be leased to a live-in manager. Work on the restoration is currently underway.