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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FIGHT DISEASE WITH CLEANLINESS: 1936

Royal Street: 1901

Royal Street: 1901

Mobile, Alabama, circa 1901. "Hotel Windsor and Royal Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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Tool Kit

The mystery object at the lower left looks like it might be a portable tool kit for use in maintaining the nearby carbon arc lamp.

Battle House Redux

Seen directly behind the dark hat of the man astride one of the mules (or horse, I can't tell) is the front of the Battle House hotel. It's the five-story building with a rectangular chimney rising from the hotel's southerly-side roof edge. The front and northerly side of the Battle House are shown here. It burned down in 1905.

Royal Street

Apparently this is near Royal and Conti, but there has been so much built around there (Riverview Plaza, Hampton Inn, etc) that anything "old" has been obliterated. Royal was cut in half when the interstate was cut through.

I've lived in Mobile for all of my 32 years and it's always nice to see what the old city looked like.

Street curiosities

Anyone know what that contraption is that is sitting on the sidewalk bottom left? And directly across the street, into the alley, almost out of sight - looks like a woman begging for food.

The Thing

At the bottom left on the sidewalk, next to a post, a ball peen hammer is sitting in the top of a, well, I don't know quite what it is. Any ideas?

Mobile Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is celebrated along the Gulf Coast from west Florida to Texas. The City of Mobile -- and Mobile's Mardi Gras -- is about 150 years older than New Orleans.

In the late 1940s to the mid-'50s, when I was a kid in Mobile, about 12 Mardi Gras parades were held over a two-week period in February. The parades would come down Dauphin Street toward Mobile Bay, turn right onto the stretch of Royal Street pictured above, come down two blocks, passing Conti Street, and then turn right on Government Street coming away from the Bay.

As a kid, I would watch the parades come by on Dauphin Street and then cut over two blocks to Government and watch them come by again. Confetti, serpentine, tokens; mule-drawn floats, accompanied during the night parades by walking men holding aloft tall poles topped with v-shaped metal holders with burning limelight? magnesium? for illumination.

On the extreme right of the photograph, where the hanging L&N awning is, was a corner of a new Sears & Roebuck store, which extended farther right. It had air conditioning, and doors that opened using an electric eye. I was fascinated by the electric eye, I think it planted a germ, I ended up in computers.

It was a good place and time to be a boy, and a kid.

What is that contraption?

Right above the Shorpy watermark, on the sidewalk. Oddest looking thing I've seen, besides my own reflection.

Hapless motormen

It's hard to believe that so many streetcars seen in these historic photos required the motorman to brave the elements on an open platform while the passengers are given the protection of the enclosed car. Of course that would be remedied in later years when completely enclosed cars were built. But one wonders why such a thoughtless design was ever conceived in the first place.

The Street of Mobile

Are these dirt streets, or just streets that are dirty?

Mystery Gadget

To me anyway. Lower left of the frame with what looks like a T-handle on the top and an atomizing bulb on the bottom?

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