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February 23, 1999

Mobile: Then and Now

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

by Tom McGehee

In March of 1917 a photographer captured the south west corner of Government and Broad where the new Government Street Methodist Episcopal Church was nearing completion.

The handsome oak doors and fan light cover had not yet been installed but the sanctuary was ready for worship services.

The church was designed by architect George B. Rogers who had begun eleven years earlier to give the church a new Sunday school room. The result was an entirely new sanctuary as well as Sunday school space and the structure was an immediate Government Street landmark.

The building is in the Spanish Colonial style and was chosen by Rogers in part to reflect Mobile's early Spanish history. Rogers termed this style as being America's "first distinct architecture of any broad historical value."

The sanctuary was adorned with a colorful art glass dome and windows created by Harry E. Goodhue of Massachusetts. His translucent glass was known for its true transparent color and he incorporated Rogers' cherub design into the grand north window above the church entrance.

A dwindling congregation has plagued the church in recent years. In an apparent move for economy the antique oak doors have recently been covered in brown paint.


Left photo courtesy of University of South Alabama Archives, Eric Oberby Collection, right photo by Kevin Marston


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