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Mobile was founded in 1702. It was once the 3rd largest port in the USA in the 1830's; there is a lot of history here. Sadly, many of the oldest homes from the 1700's and early 1800's were lost to several city-wide fires and urban renewal. There are homes dating to the 1820's but more from the 1830's and onward. One special type of home that is specific to the Gulf Coast area is the Creole cottage. Also, Mobile's port was the last Confederate port to fall late in the Civil War, and many homes were still being built during the early to mid 1860's, unlike in other Southern cities. These are the brick townhomes with iron work balconies. In particular, Mobile has a large collection of early 1900 homes in the Colonial Revival style. Bungalows enjoyed popularity for a time, as well as Cape Cod-style homes after World War II. These homes are mostly found from the downtown area to the Midtown area east of I-65. Spring Hill just west of I-65 is an old resort area from the 1800's that also has some homes, mostly Greek Revival Raised Cottages that date from the 1830's. You may notice a shield on the older homes. These are for homes that are over 75 years old. The banner above it lists first owners and present owners as well as the date of the home.
Downtown, there is a free information center at the reproduction Fort Conde on Royal St. From there, one can reserve a spot on the historic district bus tours. These tours are guided and for about $12 per person one can get a great overview of Mobile's wonderful historic districts. These districts include Church Street East , De Tonti Square , and Oakleigh Garden District. There is also a brochure at Fort Conde about the driving tour of all the districts. The other districts are Ashland Place, Old Dauphinway, Lower Dauphin Street, and the newly added Camptown area, an African-American district. A must would be to walk down Government Street from Broad to Ann Street where huge ancient live oaks embrace mansions dating from the 1800's to the Neo-Classic early 1900's. Or take the free MODA , a 20 minute ride only through downtown. Again, the Fort Conde info center can direct you to the best places and pamphlets featuring walking or driving tours.
Want more historic homes? There are four very different house museums: Oakleigh Historic Complex, which features 3 homes, an 1833 mansion, an 1850 middle class home, and an 1850's cook's house; Conde-Charlotte house, an 1822 home with an 1850's facade; Richards-DAR house, an 1861 brick townhouse; and the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, an 1855 mansion. The Bellingrath Home and Gardens has been featured as one of America's Castles. The home has one of the best collections of furniture I have seen.