Then and Now
October 7, 1997
by Tom McGehee
The north western corner of Government and Cedar streets was home to the Randall family since 1830's. John K. Randall was a successful "Bookseller and Stationer" who operated at 5 North Water Street for nearly two generations. His home was known for its fine antique English furnishings.
The family's carriage house had the distinction of being the setting for the organization of the SCS in 1887, one of Mobile's oldest Mardi Gras societies.
John Randall died at age 81 in 1896 and his widow Sarah in 1899. Their house passed to son Harry, whose family posed for this snapshot. The date is not recorded but the 1904 addition to Barton Academy is visible to the east. Harry served as bookkeeper for the City Water Works and lived in the house until his death in 1922.
The home was demolished in 1930 to make way for a Gulf Station. In more recent years a used car operation has inhabited the site.
Top-left photo courtesy of the Rich-Pittman Collection, University of South Alabama Archives. Top-right photo by Kevin Marston.