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Mobile: Then and Now

View photographs of historic Mobile, Alabama.

The south side of Government Street midway in the block between Hamilton and Lawrence streets. (Apr 10, 2001)
In 1924 Miss Maria Minge moved her popular florist business from North Conception Street overlooking Bienville Square to this location. In 1967 the building housing Minge Floral Company came crushing down for an urban renewal project that never materialized, and after more than a decade the vacant land became home to Mobile’s Chamber of Commerce.

The north side of Government Street east of Catherine Street.. (Mar 27, 2001)
In 1924 Frank and Mary Rainer moved into this block bungalow at 1510 Government Street, just west of famed Blacksher Gardens. By the early 1960’s the home had been replaced with additional asphalt for the renamed Firestone Service Station to the west.

1900 and 1902 Government Street on the north side of the long block leading west to the Loop. (Mar 6, 2001)
These two nearly identical houses enjoyed a long coexistence until commercial encroachment arrived. By the late 1950's an unimaginative strip shopping center had replaced the Courtney home.

1862 Government Street on the north side just west of Memorial Park. (Feb 20, 2001)
In 1924 Dr. Jessee Ullman Reaves built this impressive stucco home. When the Reaves house and all of the gardens Mrs. Reaves had so carefully developed were a memory, a Burger King arrived.

The northwest corner of Conti and Hamilton streets. (Feb 6, 2001)
In 1901 the Mobile Library Association acquired this antebellum home for a public library as pictured here in 1916. The old library operated briefly as the Salvation Army Hotel at the end of the twenties. The building then vanished amid scant attention and has long since been replaced with the sad commercial structure still occupying the corner today.

Number 1910 on the north side of Government Street. (Jan 9, 2001)
The era of Government Street mansions was obviously over by the late 1930’s when this cottage arrived at number 1910. It resembles countless others dotting the mid-town section of the city. The home was replaced with a brick commercial structure which currently houses Zimlich Brothers Florist.

The north side of Government Street west of the Loop. (Nov 14, 2000)
Built in the mid-teens and serving for a number of years as a private residence, the house at 1954 survived briefly as the Retarded Children's Training Center before its replacement with the Spanish Villa Restaurant by the mid-sixties. Bank expansion for a drive-through has long since replaced that institution.

The north side of Government Street between Memorial Park and the Loop. (Nov 14, 2000)
Number 1906, originally a residence, by the time of this photograph in the late 1950’s was home to a chiropractor's office. One of the first victims on this block, it was razed and its gardens asphalted for a nondescript commercial strip building which has housed Sherwin-Williams since the early 1960’s.

South Broad Street between Government and Conti Streets. (Oct 31, 2000)
For a brief period, Mobile had a photo-worthy architectural holdout. The year was 1929. The owner apparently wasn’t interested in selling and an auto dealership just surrounded her house. Today it has been replaced with yet another drug store site.

The north side of Government Street just east of Broad. (Oct 17, 2000)
This view is from the late 1950’s. The A&P grocery chain located here in the late 1940’s. For now, the A&P structure still stands, though boarded and forlorn. A self-service gas station, of recent notoriety, fills the north east corner.

The southeast corner of Government Street and Dexter Avenue. (Oct 3, 2000)
Here is number 1465, dating to 1910. By the date of this photograph in the early 1960’s, the structure is housing the real estate firm of James Ladner, "Selling Nothing But Residential Property." Few if anyone noticed in 1966 when the corner was razed and asphalted for a new Esso Station.

The northwest corner of Government Street and Scott Street. (Sep 19, 2000)
Here is a view of 750 and 752 Government Street with oaks and palmettos shielding the porches of both as they appeared in the 1930's. By the 1970’s, Number 750 was occupied by Econo-Car of Mobile only to be replaced with the fried chicken franchise currently occupying the corner.

North Royal Street north of Dauphin Street. (Sep 5, 2000)
In the prosperous decade which followed World War II, Mobile’s North Royal Street was a busy shopping thoroughfare. Tinsel and stars entice well-attired Christmas shoppers in this view of the block north of Dauphin Street. By 1980, only the abandoned Battle House survived in this block.

Catherine Street, overlooking Lyons Park. (Aug 22, 2000)
The new Bishop Allen Memorial Home was dedicated in March of 1932. In 1975 it was replaced with a parking lot.

The southwest corner of Church and South Claiborne. (Apr 25, 2000)
Alongside a series of townhouses, the Baptists arrived with their Tabernacle Baptist Church around 1915. That name lasted barely a decade before it began a longer run as Central Baptist. The church complex has been replaced with a parking lot.

Near Government and Commerce (Water St.). (Apr 11, 2000)
This is the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad station of the early 1900's. The Mobile Convention Center dominates the waterfront today.

The southeast corner of Dauphin and Conception streets. (Mar 28, 2000)
In 1896 architect Rudolph Benz designed the Spira and Pincus Building. While the ground floor was leased to retailer C.J. Gayfer, the upper stories held the Fidelia Club in elegant surroundings. A newer building, recently remodeled, is a prime site for office space.

The southeast corner of Government Street and Warren Street. (Mar 14, 2000)
Here is the laying of the cornerstone for the Government Street Temple about 1905. A Burger King now operates on the site.

Facing east on Government Street just west of Claiborne. (Feb 22, 2000)
When the twentieth century was quite new, a photographer captured this spectacular vista.

The southeast corner of Conti and Water streets. (Feb 8, 2000)
In 1837 the Gulf City Hotel opened its doors. In the 1890’s the hotel was renamed as the Southern Hotel under which name it operated until the early 1920’s. Conti Street no longer intersects Water Street. The space has been infilled with the city’s parking garage which ironically adjoins a hotel.

The north side of Bienville Square on St. Francis Street. (Jan 25, 2000)
This is a view of the newly completed Pythian Castle Hall of 1905.

1113 Church Street, in the block west of George. (Jan 11, 2000)
In 1926 Miss Ethel Berrey purchased this elegant old home. This photograph shows the beautiful garden with its profusion of hydrangeas beneath an ancient oak tree. The former Berrey home vanished in the early 1970’s and the lot remains vacant.

1668 Government Street, in the long block east of Houston Street. (Dec 1, 1999)
In 1937 attorney Leo Brown hired George B. Rogers to design his new home. In more recent years it has received redecorating as the offices of Lewis Communications, Inc., a leading advertising firm.

St. Francis Street looking west towards Franklin. (Nov 16, 1999)
Photographs from the post-World War II era of Mobile often reflect the neglect suffered by some of its most historic areas. The three buildings shown were replaced with asphalt by 1960.

Number 452 Government Street between South Hamilton and South Lawrence streets. (Nov 2, 1999)
This was once the address of an unusual Gothic Revival mansion dating back to 1855. The old Goldsby house survived until 1982. It had gone almost unnoticed for decades as it peered over the flat roof of the stores which had infilled its once lush lawn.

The southeast corner of Government and Franklin streets. (Oct 19, 1999)
This corner has been occupied by two homes for mayors of Mobile. The Stocking home was replaced with the house in this snapshot in 1872. More recently the house stood vacant with its future in doubt. The savior of the house was William Hearin whose Chandler Foundation grant was matched to bring Mobile its own museum. That entity is said to be a museum honoring Mobile’s Mardi Gras.

The southeast corner of South Washington and Government streets. (Oct 5, 1999)
In 1951 George Papageorge opened one of his three drive-ins here and this photograph captures that era. The diner-like structure is centered on an asphalt lot surrounded by billboards hawking everything from shoes to car tires. Mr. Papageorge’s dinette location would eventually house two rental car agencies before being replaced by an Arby’s franchise - complete with a drive -up window.

The east side of Jackson Street between St. Michael and St. Louis streets. (Sep 14, 1999)
This handsome church building was built by a group of Universalists in 1846. By 1853 they sold their building and it became known as The Jackson Street Temple. Later it was gutted to house an auto mechanic’s shop. The mechanic and his shop have long been replaced by newer and far less historic commercial construction.

Government Street on the northeast corner of South Franklin Street. (Aug 31, 1999)
Early in the twentieth century a photographer caught the novelty of a new “horse-less carriage.” Included in the view is the fine old Rives house. This block was one of many along Government Street which fell victim to commercial growth. Both houses visible in this photo were at first converted to office space. In the 1940’s the Rives home made way for a Delchamps Grocery Store which lasted a comparatively brief time on this corner. Ironically, both lots now house buildings for office use.

The north side of Government Street in its block between Dearborn and Wilkinson. (May 4, 1999)
This photograph from the late 1950’s reflects yet another block of Government Street destroyed by “progress.” Number 652 shown at center, will soon meet the fate of so many of its once proud neighbors, and be demolished. McDonald’s obtained the properties for a new location. Nothing from the earlier scene survives.

The northwest corner of Government and South Conception streets. (Apr 13, 1999)
The twentieth century was new when this photograph was taken. This was still a peaceful neighborhood for the city’s elite. An electric trolley is seen here headed south on South Conception. At the center is the Millard Kirkbride home. It was later demolished to make way for the undramatic Kirkbride Garage. In more recent years it has been remodeled for offices.

The north side of Government Street’s block east of Common. (Mar 30, 1999)
Here is a view taken in the early 1920’s showing two comfortable homes with manicured lawns and well-tended flowerbeds. Around 1960 both houses were demolished amongst little notice. A Burger King franchise was placed on the two lots after an asphalt crew obliterated whatever was left of the earlier gardens. The corner remains forlorn with their architectural litter.

962 Government Street on the north side between Broad and Common. (Mar 16, 1999)
In 1905 a photographer captured this view of number 962 Government Street and its neighbors to the east. It was given a snappy face-lift in 1960 and dubbed the “Royal-McBee Building.” That entity having long ago disappeared, the structure has somehow survived beneath its unsympathetic facade with a long string of tenants and lengthy vacant periods.

The southwest corner of Government and Broad streets (another look). (Feb 23, 1999)
In March of 1917 a photographer captured this shot of the new Government Street Methodist Episcopal Church as it was nearing completion. The handsome oak doors and fan light cover had not yet been installed but the sanctuary was ready for worship services. In recent years, in an apparent move for economy the antique oak doors have been covered in brown paint.

The southwest corner of Government and Broad streets. (Feb 2, 1999)
In 1890 the Government Street Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated. It was the design of architect B.D. Price who termed the pressed brick structure Gothic Revival. In 1917 the expanded church (designed by George B. Rogers) with its Sunday school wing to the south was dedicated. Its Spanish Revival facade quickly became a Mobile landmark.

The southeast corner of Government and Michigan Avenue. (Jan 19, 1999)
In 1909 Louis Metzger moved into this new house. Dr. Joseph Rowe purchased the house in 1940. Rowe sold the front of his lot to Continental Oil and moved his house south to face Michigan Avenue. A gasoline station and later a convenience store filled the location vacated by the house. The space is scheduled to be filled with an enormous chain drug store location shortly.

The large pictures have been uploaded once again for the following articles. Enjoy.

Number 308 Government Street looking west toward Claiborne Street. (Dec 1, 1998)
In 1906 a post card was issued featuring one of Mobile's distinctive ante-bellum mansions dripping with iron lace. The elegant home at 308 Government Street came crashing down to make way for Adams Motor Company. The Ford logo at Adams Motor was long ago replaced by signage for the Mobile Press Register.

The southwest corner of Government and Dearborn streets. (Nov 3, 1998)

The northeast corner of North Jackson and St. Michael streets. (Oct 20, 1998)

The southwest corner of North Franklin and St. Michael streets. (Oct 6, 1998)

The south side of St. Francis Street in the block just west of North Claiborne. (Sep 22, 1998)

260 St. Joseph Street, north of St. Louis. (Sep 8, 1998)

The northeast corner of North Royal and St. Anthony streets. (Aug 25, 1998)

The west side of South Water Street just south of its intersection with Dauphin. (May 26, 1998)

The north side of Mobile's Bienville Square. (Apr 28, 1998)

The south side of Government just east of Charles. (Apr 14, 1998)

The southeast corner of Government and South Dearborn Streets. (Mar 31, 1998)

The southwest corner of Royal and St. Francis streets. (Mar 3, 1998)

Government Street on its north side in the long block east of Common Street. (Feb 10, 1998)

The southeast corner of Government and Scott streets. (Jan 27, 1998)

The southwest corner of North Royal and St. Michael streets. (Jan 13, 1998)

Government Street to the east of its Houston Street intersection. (Dec 9, 1997)

The south side of Government Street, just east of where Dauphin Island Parkway begins. (Nov 25, 1997)

The northeast corner of North Royal and St. Louis streets. (Nov 11, 1997)

1116 Government Street, between Hallet and South Georgia Avenue. (Oct 28, 1997)

The northwestern corner of Government and Cedar streets. (Oct 7, 1997)

The southwest corner of Government and South Hamilton streets. (Sep 23, 1997)

The northwest corner of Government and Joachim streets. (Jun 10, 1997)

605 Government Street on its south side between Warren and Dearborn streets. (May 27, 1997)

1613 Government Street, just east of South Monterey. (May 13, 1997)

The southeast corner of Government and Lawrence Streets. (Apr 22, 1997)

The southeast corner of Government and Chatham streets. (Apr 8, 1997)

1056 Government Street. (Mar 25, 1997)

The north side of Government Street just east of Ann. (Mar 4, 1997)

The north side of Government Street just west of South Georgia Avenue. (Feb 18, 1997)

The southwest corner of Government and Marine streets. (Feb 4, 1997)

The southwest corner of Government and Hamilton Streets. (Jan 21, 1997)

The north side of Government Street in the block just west of Common. (Jan 7, 1997)

The west side of Royal Street in the block south of St. Francis Street. (Dec 3, 1996)


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