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Mobile, Alabama

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Mobile (Template:IPA2) (pronunciation) is the third most populous city in the U.S. state of Alabama[1] and is the county seat of Mobile County. The population of the city was 197,833 according to the 2006 estimate.[2] It is the principal city of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which had a population of approximately 429,622 and a population of 588,246 in the combined statistical area in 2006.

The city's name is derived from the presence of the Mobile (Mauvile or Maubila) Indians in the area at the time of founding. [3]

Mobile is the original home of Mardi Gras, a tradition that started in 1703, and is the second largest celebration in the United States.[4] Mobile is the only saltwater port in Alabama.

Located along the northwest shore of Mobile Bay, the city began as the first capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702. Over the past 300 years, Mobile has officially flown six flags, including France, Britain, Spain, the Republic of Alabama (1861), the Confederacy, and the United States. [5]


In 1702 Mobile was a frontier town and trading post on the Mobile River at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff. The settlement was first named Fort Louis de la Louisiana and was the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1711, due to the risk of floods the city was moved to the junction of Mobile River and Mobile Bay and renamed Fort Conde. The Louisiana Capital was moved to the city of Biloxi in 1720 and the to present day New Orleans in 1723. [6]

Mobile, Alabama (upper left), during the American Civil War.

Over the next ninety years Mobile saw vast changes in commerce and political rule. For forty of those years the British ruled Mobile, because of the signing of Treaty of Paris in 1763. The port city flourished under this rule and was renamed Fort Charlotte after the Queen.

In 1790, Mobile was captured again by the Spanish, during the American Revolutionary War and was held until 1813. By then, being the second largest seaport in the Gulf Coast, it was then captured by the American General Wilkinson. From the middle of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century Mobile expanded into a cosmopolitan city of commerce maintaining its culture. The Cotton Boom and Mobile being one of the busiest ports in the United States brought the city recognition throughout the world. [6]

During the American Civil War, Mobile was a confederate city and in 1864 surrendered to the Union army to avoid destruction after defending its port for a year. Ironically though, a year later in 1865 the city lost a large part of its residents, some three hundred people, to an ammunitions plant explosion destroying a large portion of the city. [6]

After the war, the city revived and became a shipbuilding port churning out vessels for the military. One of the first submarines was built in Mobile. World War II led to a massive military effort causing a considerable increase in Mobile's population, largely due to the building of Army, Air Force and Naval bases. By 1956, Mobile's metropolitan area tripled in growth. [6]

The 1960s brought about post war changes in Mobile's economy. Instead of shipbuilding, the paper industry began to flourish and military bases were converted to civilian uses. Mobile's seafood industry, notable for Mobile Bay oysters rose and fell in the last quarter of the twentieth century; leaving behind a few shrimpers hanging on to a uncertain future. [6]

In reference to Mobile's seafood industry, Mobile's eastern portion of the bay experiences a unique phenomenon called the Jubilee. In the middle of warm nights, an upsurge from the bottom of the bay brings a variety of seafood delicacies. News quickly spread of this phenomena and brought about spur-of-the moment fishing parties known as the Jubilee. This phenomenon happens in Japan as well, and is thought to be caused by low oxygen levels in the water. [6]



Mobile is located at 30°40'46" North, 88°6'12" West (30.679523, -88.103280).Template:GR According to the US Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 412.9 km² (159.4 mi²). 305.4 km² (117.9 mi²) of it is land and 107.6 km² (41.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 26.05% water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 84 82 90 94 100 102 104 105 99 93 87 81
Norm High °F 60.7 64.5 71.2 77.4 84.2 89.4 91.2 90.8 86.8 79.2 70.1 62.9
Norm Low °F 39.5 42.4 49.2 54.8 62.8 69.2 71.8 71.7 67.6 56.3 47.8 41.6
Rec Low °F 3 11 21 32 43 49 60 59 42 30 22 8
Precip (in) 5.75 5.1 7.2 5.06 6.1 5.01 6.54 6.2 6.01 3.25 5.41 4.66
Source: [1]


Mobile's geographical location on the Gulf of Mexico provides a mild subtropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 67.5 degrees. January through December temperatures range from 40 degrees min and 91 degrees max. The average annual precipitation of 66.29 inches benefits the lush vegetation of the region. Mobile has warm summers with Gulf breezes and mild, wet winters. Being on the Gulf, Mobile is occasionally affected by major tropical storms and hurricanes. [7]


Mobile suffered its worst natural disaster on September 12, 1979 when Category 3 hurricane Hurricane Frederic slammed into the heart of the city. The storm caused tremendous damage to nearby Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores. The city took over 5 years to fully recover from the devastating hurricane.

On September 16, 2004, Mobile received a glancing blow from Category 3 Hurricane Ivan which made landfall in Gulf Shores. Mobile was caught in Ivan's western eye and the destruction was eerily similar to 1979's Frederic. Maximum winds were observed at Battleship Park at 105 miles per hour. The recording equipment then stopped working. The city received 8 inches of rain in the 48 hours of Ivan's approach and passage.[8]

In August of 2005, Mobile received another glancing blow from Hurricane Katrina. A storm surge of 11.45 feet devastated eastern parts of Mobile. The surge may have been the highest recorded in Mobile in over 85 years.[9]

Mobile has also suffered damage from hurricanes: Camille, Elena, Georges, Erin, Opal, Florence, Cindy and Danny.


Mobile is the center of Alabama's second-largest metropolitan area, which consists all of Mobile county. Metropolitan Mobile (MSA) had a population of approximately 429,622 as of 2006 census estimates. Mobile is a part of the Mobile - Daphne - Fairhope Combined statistical area (CSA) which had a population of 588,246 according to 2006 estimates. The population of the Mobile - Fairhope - Bay Minette Combined statistical area includes the counties and populations of Mobile (Mobile) and Baldwin (Fairhope and Bay Minette). Mobile County saw substantial population growth of nearly 24,000 people after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in September 2005.

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 210,915 people, 78,480 households, and 60,000 families residing in the city. The population density is 651.4/km² (1,687.1/mi²). There are 86,187 housing units at an average density of 282.2/km² (731.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 50.40% White, 46.29% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.42% of the population are Latino.

There are 85,000 households out of which 30.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% are married couples living together, 19.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% are non-families. 30.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.46 and the average family size is 3.09.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $31,445, and the median income for a family is $39,752. Males have a median income of $31,629 versus $22,051 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,072. 21.2% of the population and 17.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.4% of those under the age of 18 and 14.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Law and government[edit]

See also: Mobile, Alabama/List of mayors of Mobile

See also: Mobile, Alabama mayoral election, 2005

The government of Mobile consists of a Mayor and a seven member City Council, operating on a weak Mayor/strong Council format. Municipal Elections are held every 4 years. The current Mayor, Sam Jones was elected in September of 2005 and is the first black mayor of Mobile. [10] Prior to his election as Mayor, Jones served on the Mobile County Commission. He is a graduate of Jacksonville University and a former U.S. Navy officer. Jones is serving his first term as mayor and is also on the Board of Trustees of the University of South Alabama. [11]


Aerial view of the port of Mobile

Mobile's Alabama State Docks is currently undergoing the largest expansion in its history by expanding its container processing and storage facility and increasing container storage at the docks by over 1,000%. [12] Mobile is also in the race to become home to the nations largest military contract in history, a $200+ Billion air force tanker project which would generate over 5,000 high paying jobs in Mobile, pushing the city to very front of the nations most prosperous cities. The rapidly growing auto industry in Alabama has resulted in over 2,000 new jobs created in Mobile.

Since the Katrina disaster, Mobile has seen a housing boom of more than 2,200 new homes built in only the past 16 months, exceeding even the post World War II boom of the late 1940s.

Since 1852, the Battle House hotel has been a fixture of the Mobile landscape. Although the original hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1905, it was rebuilt and has remained a Mobile area landmark. It was the location of President Woodrow Wilson's famous speech in 1913 where he declared that the US would never again fight in a foreign war of aggression. In 1974, the hotel went vacant, as much of downtown was doing at the time.

In 2001, the Mobile City Council approved a deal with the Retirement Systems of Alabama for a complete restoration of the historic hotel, as well as construction of the Battle House Tower, a 35-story, 745-foot (227 m) tall skyscraper which is the tallest building in Alabama. [13]

In 2007, German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp announced plans for a $4.2 billion steel mill. The new plant will be built north of the city in Mount Vernon, Alabama. Officials say 29,000 people will be employed during construction and an additional 2,700 permanent jobs will be added. [14]

The Battle House Project is the crowning achievement of the "String of Pearls" initiative undertaken by the administration of former Mayor Mike Dow (1989-2005), which saw the construction of the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center and the Cruise Ship Terminal, the approval of the soon to be constructed Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, and the complete rebirth of Dauphin Street, Mobile's historic commercial corridor.

Other projects in the works include a number of high-rise condominium towers on Water Street in the heart of the downtown waterfront, as well as the construction of a historic Mardi Gras themed city park in downtown and a brand new state of the art federal courthouse. Large commercial ventures are in the works for the metropolitan area.

Arts & Entertainment[edit]

Mobile's art and history museums include the Mobile Museum of Art, Oakleigh Historic Complex displaying historic buildings and homes, Museum of Mobile, Battleship Memorial Park which includes an aircraft pavilion and the USS Drum (SS-228) submarine. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is located south of the city near the mouth of Mobile Bay. The Magee Farm and Home site is a must for those interested in American Civil War history. The Bragg-Mitchell House is an integral part of local history. The Conde-Charlotte House is another historical home. Other unique museums include Mobile Medical Museum, Phoenix Fire Museum, Mobile Police Museum, St. Ignatius Archives and Museum. [15] The city hosts a 60-year old Opera company which averages about 1,200 in attendance through the year. The Mobile Opera also supports the Rose Palmai-Tenser Scholarship Competition which is held in late May. [16]

Mobile is host to such national events as the Senior Bowl football game (January), the Senior Bowl 10K, which is the national 10K road race championship, the Azalea Trail Run 10K race (March) and the America's Junior Miss Pageant (July). [17]

The city is home port for Carnival Cruise Lines' MS Holiday cruise ship which sails on four and five day itineraries through the Western Caribbean.


Mobile has cultural offerings for many tastes. The Gulf Coast Exploreum offers exhibitions on a variety of topics. Coupled with the IMAX theater the downtown location served thousands during the 2007 exhibition of "A Day in Pompeii." Officials say visitors have been recorded from 48 states and several international destinations. The Exploreum may see attendance top 127,000 which was the figure hit by the "China!" exhibit in 2002. [18]

The Mobile Carnival Museum, which houses the city's Mardi Gras history and memorabilia, is designed to document the variety of floats and displays seen during the festival season [19]

The National African American Archives is located in the former Davis Avenue branch of the Mobile Public Library. That facility served as "the only library for Negroes from 1932 until the mid-1960s." [20].

The historic Saenger Theatre of Mobile was opened in 1927 as part of a chain of theaters across the nation. The building is designed similar to European opera houses. The interior was designed in a Greek mythology style with thought given to Mobile's coastal location [21] Other cultural sites include the Mobile Arts Council, the Mobile Opera, Mobile Symphony, and the Mobile Ballet. [22]

In 2007, the historic Battle House was reopened in Mobile after falling into disuse for over 30 years. The hotel, built in 1908, is part of a project overseen by the Retirement Systems of Alabama which included construction of the RSA tower, now the tallest building in Alabama. The Battle House, located in the downtown section of Mobile features suites up to $1,500 per night. [23] [24]

Mardi Gras[edit]

Main articles: Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras in Mobile.

Mobile is not only recognized as celebrating the first-known American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703, but also as home to the "America's Family Mardi Gras" delighting both young and old from around town and across the nation. This elaborate celebration lasts for nearly two weeks and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. Mardi Gras must be experienced to be fully understood and Mobile is the perfect place. [25]


Mobile is served by WPMI (NBC), WKRG (CBS), and WALA (FOX) television stations. The area is also served by WEAR (ABC) based in Pensacola, Florida. WJTC, also known as UTV 44, is an independent station serving Mobile and Pensacola.

The Press-Register of Mobile is Alabama's oldest remaining newspaper, dating back to 1813;[26] the newspaper focuses coverage on two Alabama coastal counties, Mobile and Baldwin, and the port city of Mobile, but also serves communities across southwest Alabama and in nearby areas of Mississippi.[26] Mobile's alternative newspaper is the Lagniappe.

The Mobile area is served by 12 FM radio stations, including independently owned AAA station WZEW (92/The ZEW) for listeners of delta blues alternative jam & mainstream, FM sports station WNSP (Sports Radio 105.5), country stations WKSJ (95KSJ) and WYOK (KICKS 104.1), adult contemporary WMXC (Lite Mix 99.9), classical music station WHIL, classic rock WRKH (96.1 The Rocket), and Top-40 WABB. Both WBLX and WDLT serve the area's African-American community. Notable AM radio stations include news/talk WPMI and gospel WGOK. WMXC and WZEW are streaming online.

Popular culture[edit]

Mobile is the subject or location for several films, songs and books including Under Siege (filmed on the USS Alabama) ,Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jimmy Buffett's "Stars fell on Alabama" and Richard Bradford's novel Red Sky at Morning.

Mobile has the dubious distinction of being the initial port of entry for the Red imported fire ants now infesting the southern United States via Brazil.


Main article: Mobile sports history

Mobile is the home of Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The football stadium opened in 1948 with Alabama and Vanderbilt battling to a 14-14 tie. With a capacity of 40,646, Ladd-Peebles Stadium is the 4th largest stadium in the state. [27]

Ladd-Peebles Stadium has been home to the Senior Bowl since 1951, featuring the best college seniors in NCAA football.[28] The GMAC Bowl has been played since 1999 featuring opponents from the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA.[29] Since 1988, Ladd-Peebles Stadium has hosted the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. The top graduating high school seniors from their respective states compete each June. [30]

For golfers, Magnolia Grove, part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, has some of the best courses to play. There are 36 holes, The Crossings and The Falls, of championship golf and an 18-hole short course, which was recently named the best par 3 course in America. [31]

Since 1999, the LPGA Tournament of Champions has been played annually at Magnolia Grove. The Crossings course is home of this Tournament. According to Golf Digest, Mobile is a top ten golf area that offers year-round golfing.

Mobile is also home to the Azalea Trail Run, which races through historic midtown and downtown Mobile. This 10k run has been an annual event since 1978.[32] The Azalea Trail Run is one of the premier 10k road races in the U.S., attracting runners from all over the world. [33]

Mobile is hometown to five baseball Hall of Fame members (Hank Aaron, Billy Williams, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith) and rates as the third city with the most players honored in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Hall of fame. Only New York City and Chicago lead Mobile in this distinction. [34]

Historic District[edit]



Interstate 10 eastbound in downtown Mobile, Alabama approaching the George Wallace Tunnel underneath the Mobile River.

Local airline passengers are served by three airports - Mobile Regional, Gulfport-Biloxi International and Pensacola Regional. Additionally, the Mobile Downtown Airport serves corporate, cargo and private cargo aircraft and is home to major aeronautical maintenance, overhaul and repair facilities.

The city also has a remarkable highway network. Highways linking Mobile to the rest of the country include Interstate 10, Interstate 65, Interstate 165, US 31, US 43, US 45, US 90 and US 98. Mobile has three routes over the Mobile River and into neighboring Baldwin County, Alabama. Interstate 10 travels through the George Wallace Tunnel while the Bankhead Tunnel provides transit via US 98. The Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge is the third route and carries traffic via US 90 and serves as the alternate truck and hazardous waste route for US 98.

Mobile is also served by the Wave Transit Bus System. Also, Mobile has several taxi services which can be called or generally picked up in the downtown area.


Public schools in Mobile are operated by the Mobile County Public School System. The State of Alabama operates the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, which boards advanced Alabama high school students. There is also a large number of private institutions, most of them belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile. Mobile is home to the University of South Alabama, Bishop State Community College, Spring Hill College and the University of Mobile. The Mobile school system recently finished a $175 million new construction project in 2005, the largest such school construction project for any city in Alabama's history.

In addition to the public school system, Mobile also has private college preparatory schools, including St. Paul's Episcopal School and UMS-Wright School.

The Mobile Public Library system serves Mobile and consists of eight branches across Mobile County.


In 1995, Mobile received the All-America City Award. In 2005, Mobile was designated a Preserve America City.

Surrounding cities and suburbs[edit]

Sister cities[edit]


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  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named popest
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  5. U.S. History, Retrieved May 5, 2007
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  12. Template:web cite
  13. Jumper, Kathy, Massive undertaking required several contractors to finish Massive undertaking a multi-contractor job, Mobile Register, May 6, 2007, page L10
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  21. Mobile Saenger Theater History, Retrieved May 5, 2007
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  23. Template:web cite
  24. Template:web cite
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  27. Ladd-Peebles Stadium. URL accessed on 2007-04-23.
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  29. Game Recaps. URL accessed on 2007-04-23.
  30. History of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. URL accessed on 2007-04-23.
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  34. "Mobile's Baseball History". The Business View (Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce): pp. 21-22. September 2006. </li>
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  37. </ol>

External links[edit]

This article contains content from Wikipedia. Current versions of the GNU FDL article Mobile, Alabama on WP may contain information useful to the improvement of this article WP