The Wheeler House was built in 1906 by Mr. John F. Wheeler. He and his wife raised their family in this beautiful home. He owned the local lumber yard on main street in Ball Ground, (currently Valley Street) called the Wheeler Lumber Yard. Being that he owned the lumber yard and that he owned the timber, he used top choice lumber throughout the entire house. He made not only the 6,000 square foot of floors Heart Pine tongue and grove, but he made the walls and ceilings Heart Pine as well. The interlocking of the tongue and groove on the walls, floors and ceilings make this house extremely sturdy and solid. The Wheeler/Roberts family reportedly sold the house in the 1970's because they were tired of sweeping the leaves and pollen off the 2 story, wrap-around, 2,000 square foot of porches. The home has changed hands many times since, but most recently it changed hands 4 times since 2000. Each time The Wheeler House was purchased, it underwent renovation. The most recent owners did not renovate the "meat and bones" but rather did cosmetics.
The home was then later purchased in February 2010 by current owner Lee Garrison Lusk of Canton, Georgia. For the first time since 1906, The Wheeler House underwent a MAJOR renovation. Everything from the delapidated foundation to the roof and everything in between was renovated and upgraded. The beautiful heart pine floors had been painted with layers of paint over the 100 year history. Lee meticulously sanded, stained and varnished the entire 6,000 square foot of floors back to its original stain color. Most notably the porches had fallen into disrepair, so Lee had to replace all the rotten poles and rails with a cleaner more "plantationy" style. Lee custom made each of the 32 coastal Bahama Shutters for the porch and side of The Wheeler House. The upstairs consisted of 4 bedrooms which he added 4 bathrooms with pocket doors and refurbished antique claw foot tubs. During renovations Lee found a secret compartment behind one of the 8 fireplaces and hidden inside was the 2 pictures below. The original picture of the house was refurbished and put in the Library. The picture allowed Lee to realize that there was a brick walk way leading from the house to HWY 372. Using a uni-loader he un-earthed the 100 year old brick under 4 inches of silt and mud. He then, one by one pulled the antique brick up, poured 6 inches of concrete under all the current brick pathways and dance floor, then re-laid the antique brick on top of the concrete along with newer brick to finish the job. The concrete was to add stability in the instance a bride wants a horse drawn carriage so the weight will not break the antique brick. Before the project was done, Lee had laid over 20,000 new and old brick by hand.
The Wheeler House won the Cherokee County Historic Society Preservation Award in 2011, largely because of the preservation of the original windows and siding. To maintain the historic integrity of the original “block and tackle” windows, Lee stripped the trim off the windows exposing the ropes and weights in the walls, then he replaced all the rope, re-strung the weights, and re-glazed all of the glass. Of the 60+ original windows of pane, only 3 were broke and not original. During renovations, the EPA passed a new regulation that prohibited the removing of lead paint, so Lee had to stop in “mid-stream” and came up with a clever solution. He removed ALL the original wood siding, numbered it, flipped the siding, and put it back on the house therefore encapsulating the lead paint. Before he put the siding back on, he insulated the walls for the first time ever in over 100 years, upgraded all the electrical, plumbing, and ran gas to every door for gas lanterns to give it a Charleston feel.
Lee has partnered with Christina Ray of Canton, Georgia, featured on HGTV's hit show Design Star. Together they are turning this 1906 Historic Home into a perfect blend of historic charm and modern day function to embark on a blissful adventure to showcase some of Georgia's most magnificent upscale weddings and lavish events.