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Historic house in danger

Written By: LaMarcus Wilkerson

VSU students, faculty and staff members assembled Wednesday night to listen to an architectural historian lecture about the Nichols House, a historic home near campus that has recently been threatened with demolition.

Dr. Alfred Willis, a Valdosta native that now lives in Tennessee, gave a presentation titled “Valdosta’s Ultramodern Masterpiece: The Nichols House on Baytree” to a group of about 50.

Currently, the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon resides in the home. Recently, there has been discussion about rezoning for an apartment complex to be built, which would result in the destruction of the Nichols house.

The Valdosta City Council voted in favor of rezoning but there has been opposition to the idea.

The Nichols House is located on the corner of Azalea Drive and Baytree Road. The significance of this house is linked to its history.

The Nichols House was the first total electric house in Valdosta, according to Willis.

“Nowadays, the ultramodern is just a theme,” Willis said. “The Nichols House is one of a very small number of ultramodern buildings that survive in Valdosta.”

However, the Nichols House is not only unique because of its ultramodern element. It is also special because of its western architectural style.

“The Nichols House is not just a piece of ultramodern architecture; it’s also a very unusual piece of California imported into South Georgia,” Willis said.

The architecture of the house has western origins and it has an ultramodern design.

Also, the Nichols House was designed to be binuclear. “A binuclear house is a rarely seen house type in American architecture,” Willis said. It has a very strict subdivision between daytime and nighttime activities.

The Nichols house was designed in 1950 and completed in 1953.

Although the house has been standing for over 60 years, it is ahead of its time.

“In general, ultramodern architecture is a very futuristic attitude for design,” Willis said.

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