As the one of oldest cities in the state, the Mobile Historic District is a hotspot for all-things-historical-Alabama. In the spirit of Mobile’s rich and storied history, we’ve started a mini-series covering cool, historical places in Mobile for you to explore on your next stop in the Port City!
1. Battle House Renaissance Hotel & Spa
Originally the base of General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, this hotel is a must-stop for any luxurious Mobile vacation.
Originally founded as Battle House Hotel in the 1850s, the hotel relatively flourished (though with a few hiccups) for over 100 years. The opulent and prestigious setting hard a large draw, entertaining the likes of then-U.S. Presidents Millard Fillmore & Woodrow Wilson.
When the fate of the hotel laid in the balance after financial hardships in the 1970s, the US Dept. of the Interior granted the building historic status, putting it on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. This protected the building from demolition while a proprieter was found.
In 2003, Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) acquired and reinvigorated the Battle House Hotel, renaming it Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa. During a four-year construction project, the hotel was restored and affixed to the RSA Battle House Tower, the very tip of Mobile’s skyline. It reopened to well-deserved fanfare, as National Geographic Traveler’s named it one of the “Top Places to Stay in North America.”
You won’t want to miss this opulent and gorgeous hotel on your next trip to Mobile.
2. Seamen’s Bethel at the University of South Alabama
Currently home to the University of South Alabama Honors College (of which this Bama Buzz’er is a member!), the Seaman’s Bethel is a historic building that dates back to roughly the 1860s.
Historically, it was used as a place of reprive for sailors of all kinds—providing food, entertainment, and Protestant church services to those docked in the Mobile Bay Ports.
The original location of the Seamen’s Bethel was at 75 Church Street in downtown Mobile. However, in the 1960s, the University of South Alabama paid to have the building moved, brick-by-brick, onto campus in order to best preserve this landmark.
Today, if you visit Seamen’s Bethel, you will find a touch of history along with several frazzled honors-kids, all of which would love to brag about what they (we) call out home-away-from-home.
3. Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Opened in 1850, this Cathedral was heralded as “almost worthy of God.“
Featuring a gorgeous portico and stained glass windows, this 162-ft long church has been a fixture of the Mobile Catholic community for well over 150 years, even when a fire threatened the structure in 1954.
Today, The Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception still has daily mass and confessional. Outside the building lies Cathedral Square, a gathering place, park, and occasional festival space in Downtown Mobile.
You won’t want to miss this gorgeous slice of Mobile’s history on your next trip.
4. Spot of Tea
Though the restaurant, Spot of Tea, itself is only about 20 years old, it’s in the prime location of Lower Dauphin (LoDa) Commercial Historic District.
Being in the Historic District, it only follows that the building itself was build in the mid-1830s. It’s got a New Orleans-style flair with a gorgeous carriageway, underneath which sits the outdoor dining.
The paver crosswalk and proximity to Cathedral Square makes Spot of Tea a picturesque location, perfect for a few insta-worthy brunch pics!
5. Conde-Charlotte Museum House
This quaint and historic home wa actually built to serve as the very first Mobile jail in 1822. Thirty years later, it was renovated into a family home—though cell doorsnare still in the house today.
Now, it serves as a unique museum, with every room on the first floor dedicated to reflecting a certain time period. One can take a tour of the house tolearn about each room’s carefully curated items, all of which reflect a certain place and time.
Wherever you go in Mobile, her fascinating history will follow. Stay tuned as we cover more of historic Mobile in the future.