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March 14, 2000

Mobile: Then and Now

Then Now
(Click on a photo to see a larger version)

by Tom McGehee

Government Street at the start of the twentieth century was becoming a popular location for the city’s religious congregations. Although the Presbyterians had built here as early as 1836, it was not until the end of that century before others followed their lead.

The Methodist, Baptist, and Jewish congregations all had Government Street frontage by 1906. Here is the laying of the cornerstone for the Government Street Temple at the southeast corner of Warren Street about 1905.

In the distance students at Miss Annie Hunter’s School observe the activities from the balcony of a once elegant mansion. Miss Hunter had founded her school in 1881 and advertised that it attracted “pupils from the best families in the city” to this “central and beautiful location.” The new Temple will soon fill Miss Hunter’s former front yard.

The Government Street Temple was being built by Alabama’s oldest Jewish congregation. Their former location on Jackson Street was being abandoned in the move.

By 1952 the congregation had moved once more and their Temple was destroyed in 1956 for a motel location. Miss Hunter and her school were long gone, and the lot stretched back to Church Street.

The motel has joined the ranks of its predecessors. A Burger King now operates on the site.


Credit: Wilson Collection, Historic Mobile Preservation Society


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