One of the fascinating things about the pages of Michael O. Holt’s book, “Images of America: Valdosta,” is seeing familiar town landmarks side by side with buildings that have long faded into memory and old photographs.
For some long-time residents, Holt’s selected photographs will jog their memories of a past Valdosta. For natives and others, this book presents glimpses into Valdosta’s earliest years and provides a snapshot chronicle of Valdosta’s past to present.
A Valdosta State University archivist and a Lowndes County Historical Society intern are two entries on Holt’s resume. Both positions helped him add author to his list of experiences. With each selected photograph, Holt writes fascinating tidbits of history related to the image.
Holt is not the first area historian to present a regional book of history through Arcadia Publishing’s popular nationwide series, “Images of America.” Joseph A. Tomberlin wrote “Images of America: Lowndes County.” Marsanne Petty wrote “Images of America: Hamilton County,” about our Florida neighbor to the south.
Holt’s “Valdosta” chronicles the birth, growth and life of a city, a city which we in South Georgia already know well, but know a little better thanks to this book.
The Valdosta Daily Times conducted an email interview with Holt.
THE TIMES: What kind of research does a volume of this magnitude require? As a VSU archivist, had you collected pieces for this book for years as part of your work?
MICHAEL O. HOLT: “Because of the time I had spent working at the VSU archives and as an intern at the Lowndes Historical Museum in 2005, I had run across much of the material, or was at least familiar with it by the time I started the book. Though this did help me know where to look, the process was still fairly intensive. I spent a lot of time researching the pictures, trying to get the most accurate information possible. I spent a lot of time with old city directories and maps, trying to make sure I was identifying buildings properly. Where I could, I also tried to ask questions from people who I knew were around for the more recent images. I hope that the effort has resulted in a book that anyone, regardless of the amount of time they have lived here, can find enjoyable.”