Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Mobile
MOBILE, a city, port of entry and county-seat of Mobile co., Ala., on the Mobile river near Mobile Bay; 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and on the New Orleans, Mobile and Chicago, the Louisville and Nashville, the Southern, the Mobile and Ohio, and the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern railroads; 140 miles E. of New Orleans. It is built on a sandy plain, rising as it recedes from the river, and within a short distance of high and beautiful hills.
Business Interests.—The city is noted for its many industries. Here are manufactories of shingles, boxes, staves, sashes, blinds, and barrels; large flour mills and tobacco and cigar factories; clothing, carriage, confectionery, saddlery and harness, and other plants. It also has a large export trade to Mexico, Central and South America. The most important exports include cotton, rice, coal, grain, lumber, cigars, tar, resin, turpentine, and vegetables. There are National and State banks and many daily, weekly, and monthly periodicals. In recent years the docking facilities have been greatly increased by the construction of a great system of docks. The bay has also been dredged and straightened.
Public Interests.—The corporate limits of Mobile extend 6 miles N. and S. and 2 or 3 miles W. from the river. Its streets are generally well paved, shaded, and quite regular. The water supply, which is by two systems, is so pure that it is employed for chemical purposes without filtering. Here are the United States Government Building, which cost $250,000, the court house, United States Marine Hospital, city hospital, Providence Infirmary, Odd Fellows' and Temperance Halls, the Battle House, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, etc. The educational institutions include the College of St. Joseph, Spring Hill College, McGill Institute, Barton Academy, Evangelical Lutheran Institute, Convent and Academy of the Visitation, Medical College of Alabama, St. Mary's School, and a public library.
History.—In 1702 a fort was built about 20 miles N. of the present site of Mobile by Le Moyne de Bienville and named St. Louis de la Mobile. In 1711 this settlement was nearly annihilated by a furious hurricane, and a disastrous deluge, which compelled its removal to the present location of Mobile. The colony was ceded to Great Britain in 1763 by the treaty of Paris, but with all the English possessions on the Gulf of Mexico was transferred to Spain in 1783. The Spanish government administered its affairs till 1813, when it was taken by an American army under General Wilkinson. It received its charter as a city in 1819. Mobile was under Confederate rule from Jan. 11, 1861, to April 11, 1864. The fleet of Admiral Farragut sailed up Mobile Bay on Aug. 5, of the latter year, and a great battle with the Confederate vessels and forts was fought. This resulted in the destruction of the Confederate fleet, and the capture of Forts Morgan and Gaines. In the spring of 1865 the city was carried by assault, and the city passed into Union hands. The name of Mobile was changed to Port of Mobile in 1879, but the place was reincorporated with full city rights in 1887. Pop. (1910) 51,521; (1920) 60,777.