My second favorite city in Alabama after Montgomery is Mobile, which is located down south and is a port city. This city carries with it a lot of history, and was owned by several different nations in the past before it became part of the United States. On the left is a view of the downtown area of Mobile, once again the giant buildings are RSA Unions. On the right is the another cathedral with an extremely long name, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Directly in front of it is the Cathedral square park, once an 18th century cemetery.
Mobile is Alabama’s only city with a seaport, which has always been the key to the state’s economic success. This seaport has been running since the French traded with native Americans in the early 1700s. Today Mobile remains a major seaport and is among the top ten largest in the United States. Above is a photo of some industrial and shipping docks, on the right I was surprised to find some clear water and fish.
Something that remains when the French owned the city is Fort Conde which originally built in 1702 by African slaves but removed to this current site in 1723 after the first one was destroyed. This fort guarded Mobile for over 100 years, switching between nations like the English who named it Fort Charlotte, and later by the Spanish who named it Fort Carlota. The fort above is actually a reconstructed replica, the original fort that stood here on this ground was broken apart and sold as scraps by the US government in 1820.
Although the upper left photo was built by the US in 1938, it’s an example of Spanish revival architecture, which occurred in Alabama around this time. The Spanish passed on Alabama to the United States in 1813, and their influence still remains today. The other photo is of a southern style American house full with tropical plants. I’m not a fan of southern style houses and furniture when it comes to interior designs, but for some reason I love the way the outsides of the houses look, or maybe its not the houses themselves but the tropical gardens.
When I was in my late teens and in the Marines stationed at nearby Pensacola Florida, I had driven through Mobile many times, but my brain wasn’t wired to traveling and exploring my own cities in the states back then. It was kind of strange finding all these things to do in Mobile that I had passed right by so many years ago. Above is the shopping district of Mobile located along Dauphin street. It was surprisingly much bigger than I expected and took up several blocks.
In the center of the shopping district is the park above, with a memorial dedicated to the battle of Mobile Bay, and the self proclaimed “One of the fiercest and most decisive battles in naval history”. I hate to admit it, but I had never heard about the battle of Mobile Bay until I saw the historical marker, and it turns out this was the final naval battle during the civil war, and it was a union victory. This battle also saw the use of ironclad warships, steels armored ships that were relatively new to the world back in these times. The USS Tennessee fought on the Confederate side, and its armor provided protection from heavy gunfire but eventually it was overcome by the outnumbered union navy.
Two other places to visit for some history lessons or just fun in general are the exploreum science center. I tried to visit both, but they were closed once again for the Christmas weekend! I heard good things about both places, but can’t share anything beyond that until I go myself.
One place that was open was Bellingrath Gardens outside of Mobile. This place seems to be under some extreme hype, and I enjoyed my time here but I felt it was over priced and I didn’t come across anything absolutely amazing. I forget already, but I think an entry ticket was like $12 and to visit the house above it was another $8 which I didn’t do. The gardens will likely be a bit better in the spring and summer, but even here in the winter they did have some nice decorations. Since it was 20 minutes from Mobile I didn’t return at night for the light show.