Before the formation of Valdosta, the Lowndes county seat was Troupville. Named in honor of Georgia governor George Troup, the town was well established with a courthouse, hotel, churches, and several stores. However, when the Atlantic and Gulf railroad came through the area, it was built about 4 miles away from Troupville. Many people relocated to the tracks and a new town was quickly formed there. Because there were still people living in Troupville, that name could not be reused so the name Valdosta was chosen in honor of one of Governor Troup’s plantations, which in turn was named for the Valle d’Aosta province in northern Italy. Valdosta was officially incorporated on December 7, 1860.
Because the town was just in its infancy, there was probably no station here when the first train arrived here in July of 1860. This train, the Satilla No. 3, came here from Savannah on the Altantic and Gulf railroad. The locomotive was brand new at the time, constructed by Rogers Locomotive Works in Patterson, New Jersey in 1860. It is currently on exhibit in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
The Atlantic and Gulf eventually became known as the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, then the Seaboard Coast Line, and then as CSX.
The next railroad to be built in Valdosta was the Georgia Southern & Florida in 1889, running from Macon to Palatka, Florida. Creating more opportunity for businesses, shipping of products and passenger travel, the station for the GS&F was located at 318 South Patterson Street. Town leaders specifically purposed to get this railroad constructed as it provided a direct line into Florida.
The third railroad through Valdosta was the Florida, Midland and Gulf. It earned the nickname “Spool Cotton Road” for being built by J.&P. Coats, the spool thread factory. The line eventually became the Valdosta Southern and had a building on South Patterson street.
The Georgia and Florida Railroad completed a line from Augusta to Valdosta and Madison, Florida in 1908. Emory Bass was a long-time manager of the railroad. The office building was located at 306 South Patterson in an old house.
The Valdosta, Moultrie, and Western rail line was established in the first decade of the 20th century and was planned to go all the way to Arizona. Although it never went past Moultrie, it was relatively successful during the 1910s as it served many small towns in the area.