Mobile, Alabama – The Azalea City
By Cynthia M. (clariail)
I guess that you could say that I am a Southerner and have the drawl to prove it. At least, according to what I have been told when traveling outside of the South. I was born in Arizona but we moved back to Alabama when I was six months old or so. The only other time when I have lived outside of Bama was when we lived in Conway Arkansas for a couple of years. We did move multiple times in Alabama until my parents settled on Mobile when I was in high school which would have been around 1971. That makes me feel so old! I love living in Mobile and don’t foresee ever moving away even if that means I have to put up with heat, humidity and mosquitoes. I’ll just keep the AC cranked up and the bug spray handy.
City of Mobile is located in Mobile County which is the second most populated county in the state. Mobile has a population of more than a quarter of a million people in the metropolitan area that covers 128 square miles. Even though Mobile offers the amenities and infrastructure of a major metropolitan area, it has retained its sense of community and friendliness. I don’t feel like that I live in a large city. I can get to major shopping areas, downtown, and great restaurants within 10-20 minutes. We are also close to great beaches such as Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island, about a 45 minute drive or so.
Mobile began as the first capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702. The city gained its name from the Native American Mobilian tribe that the French colonists found in the area of Mobile Bay During its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony for France, then Britain, and lastly Spain. Mobile first became a part of the United States of America in 1810, with the annexation of West Florida under President James Madison. It then left that union in 1861 when Alabama joined the Confederate States of America, which collapsed in 1865.
Absorb Mobile Bay’s unique history as you view artifacts detailing the city’s earliest beginnings to modern day heroes at innovative museums. Explore a mighty battleship (USS Alabama) from stem to stern or relive history aboard a World War II submarine. Enjoy nature at its finest and visit one of our unrivaled gardens. Blooming year round, these gardens are a part of our city everyone must see. Recapture the true spirit of Southern history on the veranda of an antebellum home. Check out the latest scientific discoveries through hands on exhibits or sit back and watch an IMAX movie. Greyhound races run nightly, so grab a bite to eat and cheer on the dogs. Any time of the year, on any day of the week, Mobile Bay is teeming with energy.
For the museum lovers out there, we have several to choose from as well as several art galleries. On the 2nd Friday of each month, there is the Loda Art Walk held in the downtown area where art galleries, institutions, studios and unique shops open their doors and welcome you inside to see beautiful artwork, sample delicous foods and hear the sounds of the LoDa Artwalk.
If you enjoy golf, we have twenty one world class golf courses that you can have your pick to play. My husband has tried several of them and enjoyed each one.
For those who enjoy baseball, we have the Mobile Bay Bears of the Double-A Southern League, a farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And of course for the Party Goers among you, we have Mardi Gras. Mobile is not only recognized as celebrating the first-known American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (yes, even before New Orleans), but also as home to the “America’s Family Mardi Gras” delighting both young and old from around town and across the nation. This magnificent celebration lasts for over two and a half weeks and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. For weeks, the streets of downtown Mobile are filled with the sights and sounds of live marching bands, brilliant-colored floats and of course teeming crowds of parade goers. The floats are glowing spectacles manned by masked riders festooned in satin and sequins, and armed with crowd-pleasing “throws” such as beads, moon pies, doubloons and candy.
Each year it expands a little bit more as more of the towns close to Mobile choose to have their own celebrations but they all occur during the couple of weeks that make up the Mardi Gras celebration. There is also the Mobile Carnival Museum where you may learn more about the history of Mardi Gras and see some of the beautiful outfits worn by the previous Kings and Queens that have presided over the celebration.
If you enjoy fresh seafood, we have plenty of places that you can find it both here in Mobile and in the neighboring cities and county. You can either choose from the great restaurants that we have or if you wish to prepare it yourself, there are plenty of shops to buy it fresh.
Mobile’s geographical location on the Gulf of Mexico provides a mild subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild, rainy winters. The record low temperature is −1 °F (−18 °C), set on February 13, 1899, and the record high is 105 °F (41 °C), set on August 29, 2000.
A 2007 study by WeatherBill, Inc. determined that Mobile is the wettest city in the contiguous 48 states, with 66.3 inches (1,680 mm) of average annual rainfall over a 30-year period. Mobile averages 120 days per year with at least 0.01 inches (0.3 mm) of rain. Snow is rare in Mobile, with the last snowfall being on February 12, 2010.
Mobile is occasionally affected by major tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane Frederick 1979, Hurricane Opal 1995, Hurricane Ivan 2004, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Public schools in Mobile are operated by the Mobile County Public School System. The Mobile County Public School System has an enrollment of over 65,000 students, employs approximately 8,500 public school employees. The State of Alabama operates the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science on Dauphin Street in Mobile, which boards advanced Alabama high school students. It was founded in 1989 to identify, challenge, and educate future leaders.
Mobile also has a large number of private schools, most of them being parochial in nature.
Major colleges and universities in Mobile that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools include the University of South Alabama, Spring Hill College, the University of Mobile, Bishop State Community College, and Faulkner University.
I hope that you have enjoyed learning a little about my home town. I have loved sharing it with you and if you ever come this way, drop me a message as I would love to meet you.
From Fort to Port: An Architecural History of Mobile, Alabama by Elizabeth Barrett Gould
Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Alabama compiled and edited by Carol Padgett
Belle’s Letters: Contemporary Fiction by Alabama Women edited by Joe Taylor and Tina M. Jones
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
Baseball in Mobile by Joe Cuhaj, Tamra Carraway-Hinckle