Welcome back to week 3 of The Bama Buzz exploring Mobile’s historic districts! Last week, we took a look at the LoDa Arts District and all its arts and culture. This week, we’re going to highlight the Oakleigh Garden District.
What makes a historic district?
In the City of Mobile, we have registered 7 different districts on the National Register of Historic Places and a few more locally recognized and maintained as historic districts even if not on a registry. Here’s a list of the historic districts in Mobile:
- Church Street East
- Lower Dauphin (LoDa)
- Oakleigh Garden District
- Old Dauphin Way
- Ashland Place
- De Tonti Square
- Midtown Mobile
- Africatown and the African American Heritage Trail
The easiest way to tell if a building is historical, especially in Mobile, is to look for a certain plaque issued by the Mobile Historic Development Commission. They look a bit like this:
The Oakleigh Garden Historic District
The Oakleigh Garden Historic District is named after the Oakleigh House, a Greek-Revivial style home built in the 1830s by James Roper. The City of Mobile ultimately purchased the property in the 1950s, and The Historic Mobile Preservation Society set up the Oakleigh House as a museum, which is still open today! Take a tour, guided by Mobile Belles, a volunteer program for young women to act as advocates for Mobile History.
Historic Oakleigh Museum
- Address: 300 Oakleigh Place, Mobile, AL, 36604
- Hours: Mon – Sat: 10 am – 4 pm; Sunday 1 pm – 4 pm. Last tour of the day departs at 3 pm.
- Price: $10 for adults, $5 for children, kids 5 and under get in for free
- Contact: 251-432-1281 | Website
The number one thing we love about the Oakleigh Garden District, often referred to by locals as simply “Oakleigh”, is just how walkable it is. It’s one of those places that has beautiful house after beautiful house, all draped in live oaks that line the streets. Walking through the Oakleigh District is so beautiful that there is an entire Facebook page dedicated to it, Walking the Oakleigh Historic District.
This is a more residential area than some previous historic districts we’ve covered. There is an emphasis placed on community here, with the Oakleigh District hosting community gatherings like the “Meet your Neighbors” event held in 2018, pre-pandemic. This is a homey front-porch community that will make you feel welcome at first stroll. Despite the small and homey feel, the Oakleigh Garden Historic District is one of the largest and most well-known in Mobile.
The neighborhood itself is beautiful to wander about and the proximity to both sides of town is unmatched.
Also within the bounds of Oakleigh Historic District is Washington Square, which serves as a kind of hub for those who live in the Oakleigh District. Washington Square is like a small community park with places for children to play and parents to unwind.
We love Oakleigh because it’s a gorgeous example of historical preservation. Row after row of houses are embossed with the historical building marker, yet are still teeming with life. You can find kids playing outside and families hosting barbecues, all while entrenched in Mobile History.
That was this week’s segment of exploring Mobile’s Historic Districts. Tune in next week when we cover Old Dauphin Way.