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Mobile, Alabama was incorporated in 1702 after a period of French, British, and Spanish rule. These outside influences created a lasting impact on the architecture of the city.
Many of these historic homes are still open today for tours, operating as museums. They feature different styles ranging from Italianate to Greek Revival to Victorian.
A Note On Plantations: These homes have a dark history that shouldn’t be ignored. Only you can decide whether this is something you’re interested in doing. Read this post for more perspectives on both sides of the debate.
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Historic Mobile House Museums
Built in 1855 for Judge John Bragg, the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion was constructed in the Greek Revival style. Surrounded by grand moss-covered oak trees, the antebellum home lost many of its original trees during the Civil War. Most of the furnishings were sent to Bragg’s plantation nearby, which was subsequently burned.
The home remained in the family until 1880 when it was bought by William H. Pratt. From there, it passed through the Upham, Davis, and Wingate families before it was purchased by A.S. Mitchell in 1924. The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion sat vacant for 15 years before opening as a museum.
The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion is located at 1906 Springhill Avenue. It’s open for tours Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12, and $9.50 for seniors, active military, and AAA members.
The Condé-Charlotte House was built in 1850 for Jonathan Kirkbride and his family, adding to a section from 1822. Set next to Fort Conde, it also became a magazine and later became the city’s first courthouse and jail. It stayed in the family until 1905 when it was sold to BJ Bishop. The Historic Mobile Preservation Society then purchased it and restored it.
Outside are five flags from the city’s history of rule, including France, Spain, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the current US flag. Inside are furnishings from throughout the years including colonial antiques and Confederate artifacts.
The Condé-Charlotte House is located at 104 Theatre Street. Tours are offered from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 3:30 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6.
Oakleigh Historic Mansion was built in the Greek Revival Villa style in 1833 for James W. Roper, a brick mason. He lost his wife and child while building the home but remarried upon its completion.
Unfortunately, the home was repossessed in the Panic of 1837. It was bought by Roper’s brother-in-law, Boyd Simison. Alfred Irwin, treasurer of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, purchased the house in 1852, and his wife saved it from destruction in the Civil War. It remained in the family until 1916.
The Oakleigh complex consists of the Oakleigh Mansion, the Cox-Deasy Cottage Museum, and the Minnie Mitchell Archives and is located at 350 Oakleigh Place. Tours are offered on Friday, Saturday, and Monday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and under.
Richards-DAR House Museum
The Italianate-style Richards-DAR House was built in 1860 for riverboat captain Charles Richards. The townhome with a cast-iron facade is one of the most preserved in Mobile and features Revolutionary artifacts in its exhibits.
It remained in the Richards family until 1946 when it was purchased by the Ideal Cement Company, who used it as an office. The City of Mobile purchased the home in 1973. Today it’s maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Richards DAR House Museum is located at 256 North Joachim Street. It’s open for tours on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 am to 3:30 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 5-12, and free for children under 5.
The Bellingrath Home was built in 1935, using materials from previously demolished homes and hotels in Mobile. It was constructed in the English Renaissance style for Walter and Bessie Bellingrath, one of the early Coca-Cola bottlers.
Set on 900 acres on the Fowl River, the home is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bellingraths didn’t have any children so after Bessie’s death in 1943, Walter continued to work on her gardens that opened to the public in 1932.
The Bellingrath Home is located at 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road. They’re open daily for tours from 9 am to 4 pm. Tickets for access to the home and gardens are $22 for adults, $14 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5.
The Portier House
The Bishop Portier House was built in 1834 in the Creole cottage style with Neoclassical accents. It was the home of Bishop Michael Portier from 1834 until his death in 1859.
From there, it was the home of four subsequent bishops until 1906 including Friar Abram Ryan, a poet and priest. It was restored as recently as 2007 and remains the property of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile.
The Portier House is located at 307 Conti Street. Tours are available by calling the Cathedral Parish Office at (251) 434-1565.
Mobile Carnival Museum
The Mobile Carnival Museum is devoted to the history of Carnival, featuring rooms upon rooms of the lavish attire the court of various krewes wear every season. It’s located in the historic Bernstein-Bush house, which features a French-inspired cast-iron facade and gate work.
The museum is located at 355 Government Street. It’s open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission is $3.