Written By: LaMarcus Wilkerson
The city council voted against a request to preserve Valdosta’s first totally electric home, the Nichols house, which has been standing on the corner of Azalea Drive and Baytree Road for over 60 years.
This piece of history for the city of Valdosta will most likely be torn since the city council voted 6-1 in a meeting on Oct. 23 to deny historical status.
“I voted against the historic designation,” Tim Carroll, city councilman of District 5, said. “As much as I would have liked to see the Nichols home preserved, basic property owner rights is what tipped the scale in my decision making process.”
However, this was a difficult decision for Carroll.
“As a former member of the HPC, former owner of a historic home and supporter of historic preservation, this was a most difficult case,” said Carroll. “Having friends on both sides made the decision on this case difficult as well.”
The current owner of the house, Georgia Sigma Housing Corporation, wants to sell the property to Turner Brooks LLC so an apartment complex can be built. However, the Nichols house was designed in 1950, which is significant to the Valdosta community.
For years, the Nichols house has been home to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, but currently it has boards on the windows and appears to be in unlivable condition.
At the Oct. 23 Valdosta city council meeting, an attorney for GSHC said the house has no historical significance and its condition was deplorable due to the fact that a fraternity had called it home for the past 10 years, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
Dr. Alfred Willis spoke in defense of the Nichols house, saying that the house had historical value. Willis is an architectural expert who has previously spoken at VSU about the history of the Nichols house.
One glimmer of hope for the preservation of the house remains.
Councilman Robert Yost, the one councilman to vote in favor of preserving the house, says that he hopes there will be an effort to relocate the building rather than demolish the structure.