Mobile’s downtown and midtown are divided into seven National Register Historic Districts, each with its own unique character and history.
These districts are the beating hearts and souls of “old Mobile,” and you’ll love exploring them!
If you take a walk or drive through any of these neighborhoods, you will see front porches that are just as elegant as the rooms within.
It’ll be hard to miss gigantic ferns swaying in the breeze and magnificent live oak trees and magnolia trees casting shadows over several streets.
Folks running, strolling dogs, and cycling families are familiar sights.
A quick look around and you’ll notice that everyone is friendly and eager to make you feel welcome.
Read on to find out what these remarkable neighborhoods are.
Also, there are plenty of historic homes available for sale if that’s what you’re looking for!
Historic Neighborhoods In Mobile
The Old Dauphin Way District
Established in 1974 as a historic district, Old Dauphin Way is Mobile’s largest historic area and is home to more than 3,000 one-of-a-kind structures.
The fact that so many of the old structures are still being used today is one of its defining characteristics.
In the Old Dauphin Way District, you may find anything from law offices to beauty salons housed in charming craftsman-style homes or bungalows that were originally designed to accommodate blue-collar laborers.
The rest of this district is made up of residential neighborhoods, and a stroll through them is as lovely as can be.
Related Reading: Lower Dauphin District in Mobile, AL – Go Through It Here.
Church Street East District
Church Street East is one of Mobile’s oldest historic districts, having been designated as such in the early 1970s.
On Church Street is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the centerpiece of this neighborhood.
This, however, is not the only historical landmark in the area.
Church Street is home to the Fort Conde Inn and, by extension, all of Fort Conde Village.
The Fort Conde-Charlotte House (not the Inn!) served as Mobile’s first courthouse and jail, and it is one of the city’s many historic buildings worth visiting.
It has been renovated into a museum that showcases the rich history of Mobile.
Church Street Cemetery, the resting place of many early Mobile notables, cannot be forgotten.
If visiting cemeteries is your thing, you’ll have a chill time here.
The Church Street Historic District also includes the Old Southern Market, the former Mobile city hall.
The marketplace was established during the Civil War to ensure the city’s continued food supply.
The structure served as Mobile’s City Hall before the war and was later renovated.
However, the History Museum of Mobile is now housed there.
Lower Dauphin District
With the exception of a few blocks to the north of Government Street, the LoDa and Church Street East historic districts are practically contiguous.
This is why visiting several of Mobile’s historic neighborhoods in a single day is a breeze.
Let’s check out some of LoDa’s most interesting attractions.
The prominence of art in the life of the LoDa Historic District is its main pride.
The LoDa neighborhood is known for its cultural institutions, such as the Saenger Theatre, and art galleries like the Sophiella.
The LoDa neighborhood also has the Alabama Contemporary Arts Center and the Mobile Arts Council.
One of the most notable events is the LoDa Artwalk, a monthly celebration and a showcase of local artists.
Oakleigh Garden District
The Oakleigh House, a Greek Revival mansion constructed by James Roper in the 1830s, serves as the inspiration for the Oakleigh Garden Historic District’s moniker.
In the 1950s, the City of Mobile made a purchase of this land, and the Oakleigh House subsequently became a museum run by the Historic Mobile Preservation Society.
The fact that you can get anywhere in the Oakleigh Garden District on foot is the thing locals like best about it.
It’s the kind of neighborhood where stunning mansions line the streets, each one shaded by a canopy of live oaks.
Related Reading: Oakleigh Garden District – Get The Info Here.
Similar to Old Dauphin Way, the Leinkauf District is primarily a residential area.
In June 1987, the area was included on the National Register because of the efforts of Williams Henry Leinkauf, a Hungarian immigrant and influential member of the community.
All types of Deep South buildings can be seen here because the neighborhood has weathered multiple historical eras.
Located in a historic building, W.H. Leinkauf Elementary School is one of Leinkauf’s most notable landmarks.
From its humble beginnings as a four-classroom building, it has grown to become the oldest public school in Alabama.
After decades of expansion and renovation, it now spans over two city blocks.
Related Reading: Leinkauf District – Get The Info Here.
De Toni Square District
The De Tonti Square Historic District can be found nestled under an oak tree canopy at the northern edge of downtown Mobile.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no square in this area.
However, it has a close-knit, multiethnic group of residents and business owners who are working hard to make it a thriving neighborhood.
Initial settlement happened there in the 1820s and 1830s when Mobile was already a thriving Gulf port.
During the 1850s, when the cotton market was at its peak, the brick townhouses were constructed.
The current boundaries of the district are Adams, St. Anthony, Conception, and Claiborne Streets, including a total of nine blocks.
De Tonti Square declined as the city expanded to the west and businesses relocated.
The region started to progressively transform in the 1970s, and in 1972, the neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Structures that were originally homes have been transformed into workplaces, with businesses, especially law firms, taking advantage of their closeness to downtown Mobile.
Related Reading: De Tonti Square District – Get The Info Here.
Ashland Place District
The majority of the structures in the Ashland Place Historic District date from between 1920 and 1938.
Construction in the area slowed down after 1929 due to the Great Depression and a lack of available building lots.
Building nonetheless proceeded until all the lots were occupied, with designers adhering to the subdivision’s predetermined architectural styles.
Moreover, the post-war population growth in Mobile necessitated the development of new suburbs to the west and south.
The Ashland Place Historic District in Mobile, Alabama, is bordered by a collection of buildings that are historically significant because they represent one of the earliest post-Victorian suburbs in the city.
This area has updated to 20th-century architecture, but certain 19th-century features classic to the Gulf Coast still exist.
A few examples of these traits are the prevalence of low-pitched roofs with wide eaves, the use of large windows and doors for lighting and ventilation, and the preservation of porches, either recessed or projecting.
Ashland Place is especially noteworthy since it was Mobile’s first affluent suburb in the early twentieth century.
Related Reading: Ashland Place District – Get The Info Here.
Midtown Mobile District
The homes and other structures in this region span from the late 1800s to the mid-1950s and feature a diverse range of architectural eras and styles.
Take a walk through the historic district, and you’ll see that the streets are shaded by canopies of old live oak and magnolia trees.
Front porches surrounded by ferns and flowers that bloom all year round complement the antebellum architecture.
Benches, water features, statues, and breathtaking landscaping may be found throughout the city’s many parks and plazas.
The Cathedral Square is also here, which serves as the “front yard” of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
This square is another well-loved public gathering place.
It has been included in countless generations’ worth of family, senior, and prom pictures, and it plays host to a farmers’ market, art festivals, music concerts, fashion events, and more.
Africatown and The African American Heritage Trail
Mobile’s historic Africatown neighborhood is located three miles (five kilometers) to the north of the city proper.
In 1860, after the Atlantic slave trade had been outlawed, it was created by West Africans who had been part of the last known illicit shipment of enslaved people to the United States from Africa.
People settled here and established their own culture.
As a result, they continued to practice and speak their West African languages and customs for decades after the Civil War.
There was one person left in the group by 1935.
In 2012, the Africatown Historic District was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Its trail features both driving and walking tours that highlight the achievements and history of African Americans.
Guided tours are given by docents who are experts on the history of Mobile.
The stories come to life thanks to their passion and knowledge.
Related Reading: Importance Of Cleaning Up Your Community – Get To Know Here.
The city’s progress in the 19th and 20th centuries is reflected in the distinct personalities of its several neighborhoods.
Start your exploration of Mobile’s vibrant architectural history with the Mobile Historic Development Commission.
Make sure you ask for a brochure detailing driving tours.
Mobile is a great place that’s waiting for explorers.