The Wheeler House was home to Mr. John F. Wheeler and his family. Mr. Wheeler owned Wheeler Lumber Yard on Main Street in Ball Ground (currently Valley Street). It was from his lumberyard that he selected top choice lumber to use throughout the entire house. All 6,000 square feet of floors are Heart Pine tongue and groove, as well as the walls and ceilings. In the 1970’s, the Wheeler/Roberts family reportedly sold the house due to the fact that they were tired of sweeping the leaves and pollen off the two story wrap-around 2,000 square foot porches. The Wheeler House has changed hands many times since, having four different owners since 2000. Each time The Wheeler House was purchased it underwent renovation, however most of the owners made only cosmetic renovations.
It wasn’t until February of 2010 that The Wheeler House underwent major renovation when current owner Lee Garrison Lusk of Canton, Georgia purchased it. For the first time since 1906, The Wheeler House was repaired, renovated, and upgraded. Everything from the dilapidated foundation to the roof and everything in between was restored to pristine condition. The beautiful Heart Pine floors had been painted with countless layers of paint over the 100-year history. Lee meticulously sanded, stained, and varnished the floors back to their original stain color. The porches had fallen into disrepair over the years, so Lee replaced all of the rotten poles and rails with a cleaner, more "plantation like" style.
Lee also custom made each of the 32 coastal Bahamas shutters for the porch and side of The Wheeler House. Lee added a bathroom to each of the four bedrooms upstairs and installed pocket doors and refurbished antique claw foot tubs to preserve the home’s integrity. Other major renovations included insulating the walls for the first time in over 100 years, upgrading all the electrical and plumbing, and running gas to every door for gas lanterns – giving it a Charleston feel.
During the renovation, Lee found a secret compartment behind one of the eight fireplaces and hidden inside was two photographs depicting the original state of The Wheeler House. This allowed Lee to see that there was once a brick walkway leading from the house to HWY 372. Using a uni-loader, Lee unearthed the 100 year old brick buried under four inches of silt and mud. He then, one by one pulled the antique brick up, poured concrete under all of the current brick pathways and dance floor, and then re-laid the antique brick along with newer brick to finish the job. Before the project was done, Lee had laid over 20,000 new and old bricks by hand.
In 2011, The Wheeler House won the Cherokee County Historic Society Preservation Award, 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. He then replaced all the rope, re-strung the weights, and re-glazed all of the glass. Of the 60+ original windows of pane, only three were broken and therefore not original. During renovations the EPA passed a new regulation that prohibited the removal of lead paint, so Lee had to stop “mid-stream” and come up with a solution. He removed all the original wood siding, numbered it, flipped the siding and put it back on the house, therefore cleverly encapsulating the lead paint.
Owning The Wheeler House has been a childhood dream come true for owner Lee Lusk. After 11 months of extensive renovations, The Wheeler House opened its doors to its first wedding. The Wheeler house is now one of the most lavish and charming wedding venues of North Georgia.