Preserving the Past, Looking to the Future
Photo by the Georgia Photography Fanatic
Coleman Talley LLP relocated its Valdosta office to historic structures at 109 and 111 South Ashley Street in Downtown Valdosta in October 2018. The firm is excited to once again be located in Valdosta’s downtown district, where its original office was located in 1937. The renovation project represents the second largest private investment in the Historic Valdosta Commercial District, found on the National Register of Historic Places. The 22,000 square feet of the adjoining buildings house approximately 60 lawyers and staff. The buildings include offices for Real Estate, Litigation, Commercial Transactions, and Housing practices. To honor the buildings’ rich past, Coleman Talley maintained original elements of the building, including an early 1900’s fireproof vault manufactured by John S. Franz with the Diebold Safe and Lock Company located in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally, unique hanging gears are visible from two freight elevators, and an original brick street located behind the building has been maintained. The firm commemorated the former use of the structure by using Coca-Cola bottling, A. S. Pendleton Grocers, and railroad themes in its conference rooms. The project was completed in October 2018. It has been awarded an Excellence in Rehabilitation recognition from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the City of Valdosta and the Valdosta Historic Preservation Commission, and Best Adaptive Reuse over 10,000 square feet by the Georgia Downtown Association.
111 South Ashley
The three-story building at 111 South Ashley Street was constructed in 1897. It first appeared on the Sanborn Insurance Maps in Valdosta, Georgia in 1900 as A. S. Pendleton Co. – Wholesale Grocers. A. S. Pendleton was a prominent businessman and community leader in Valdosta, serving as a city councilman, investor, and Chamber of Commerce member. His wholesale grocery business occupied 111 South Ashley Street until 1912. In 1913, two businesses were listed in the US City Directory: J. Wisenbaker and Company, a hay, grain, and feed store, and Owl’s Hall, located on the second floor of the building. From 1919 to 1925, the business directory reflected Valdosta Bottling Works – Coca-Cola Bottlers. Valdosta was home to one of the first Coca-Cola bottling operations in the United States, and J. F. Holmes and E. R. Barber operated the plant during this time. During those same years, Coca-Cola bottling shared the three-story building at 111 South Ashley with various businesses and organizations, including the Young Women’s Christian Association, a bowling alley, and W. A. Bruce Florist. In 1940, Sineath Wholesale Grocers occupied both buildings. It is also at this time that the Valdosta City Directory identified the alley on the south side of the building as “Coca-Cola Alley”, despite the plant relocating fifteen years earlier. After a vacancy in 1947, Southern Salvage Company, an Army-Navy Surplus Store, began occupying 111 South Ashley in 1949 and shared the second floor with the Junior Service League Community Center for a short time. By 1954, Southern Salvage occupied both buildings into the 21st century.
109 South Ashley
The four-story building at 109 South Ashley Street was constructed in 1902. It was noted by the Valdosta Times in March 1903 as the tallest building in Valdosta. It first appeared on the Sanborn Insurance Maps in 1905 in use by a wholesale pants supplier. From 1908 to 1913, the US City Directory listed B. F. Whittington Furniture as the building’s occupant. Whittington was the mayor of Valdosta from 1885-86 and also served as an attorney, judge, county commissioner, and city councilman. By 1921, 109 South Ashley was occupied by the Lowndes County Exchange, a general merchandise store. Then, from 1923 to 1929, the building was used by Dorris Seed Company, a plant and seed store. Finally, Register Furniture Company utilized the space in 1937 and again in 1947 before Southern Salvage eventually occupied both 109 and 111 South Ashley Street in 1954.
Photos provided by Nancy O’Brien of Sunlight Photos