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September 8, 1998

Mobile: Then and Now

Then Now

by Tom McGehee

Mobilians with means in the 1880's often turned to the Queen Anne style of architecture when constructing their new homes. Here at 260 St. Joseph Street is a fine specimen of the style.

The half-timbering surrounding the four art glass windows on the third story join with the castle- like turret to hark back to a romanticized look at merry old England. The wrap-around porch looks inviting with its rocking chairs and potted plants. The oversized windows have interior shutters carefully shut against the hot western exposure.

The original owner of this house was Freeman Turner. Mr. Turner has prospered and was president of the Crescent Lumber Company. Lumber was beginning to compete with cotton as a cash crop and fortunes were being made as a result.

In 1912 Henry Luscher bought the house and lived here until the 1920's. Mr. Luscher was the president of Luscher and Son Paint Company on Dauphin Street. Mr. Luscher opted for a Government Street address and his former home went on to become a rooming house.

St. Joseph Street north of St. Louis had been a comfortable residential neighborhood but commercial encroachment lowered its desirability. By the late 1950's Mrs. Cleo DeLaney's boarding house had been replaced by a location for Friden's Business Machines.

The entire block was eventually cleared for the new U.S. Post Office as the main location in Mobile. In recent years much of its business has been transferred outside the city limits leaving the facility underutilized in relation to its original purpose.


Top Left: Photo courtesy of The Wilson Collection, Historic Mobile Preservation Society.
Top Right: Photo by L.D. Fletcher.


The Harbinger, P.O. Box U-980, Mobile, AL 36688-0001