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March 27, 2001

Mobile: Then and Now

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

by Tom McGehee

In 1924 Frank and Mary Rainer moved into this block bungalow at 1510 Government Street, just west of famed Blacksher Gardens. This is the north side of the block east of its ever-busy intersection with Catherine Street.

Mr. Rainer was the vice president of the Biloxi Grit Company, which maintained offices in Mobile’s First National Bank Building. His home consisted of six rooms, a large attic and the novelty of a basement, as well as a separate garage. Rainer’s widow moved to Miss Maria Mayer’s boarding house in the late thirties and the house ultimately came into the possession of Samuel Perloff, a Dauphin Street merchant, in the years following World War II.

This photograph shows the address in the late 1950’s. Two houses which once stood to the west have vanished for an expansion of Weinacker’s Service Center. Perloff’s widow has opted for an apartment on South Monterey Street and is attempting to lease her former home for commercial offices.

By the early 1960’s the Perloff home had been replaced with additional asphalt for the renamed Firestone Service Station to the west. Blacksher Gardens gave way for a Ramada Inn location when Mobile assessed the site at which its owner considered an excessive commercial valuation.

The Ramada Inn failed years ago and the buildings now house students for the University of South Alabama’s Nursing School. Only some of the grand oaks from the old Blacksher property remain to make the earlier view even remotely recognizable.


Credit: Julius E. Marx Collection, University of South Alabama Archives


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