Founded in 1702 and incorporated as a city in 1819, Mobile is Alabama’s only saltwater port and home to 205,000 residents. Known for having the oldest organized Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States, Mobile was one of Florida’s largest cities during the British and Spanish control of the state between 1763 and 1813. By 1840, it was also second only to New Orleans in cotton exports in the nation.

Home to an array of cultural influences with its mixed French, Spanish, Creole, Catholic, British and African heritage, it is one of the South’s most unique cultural communities. The Lower Dauphin Street Historic District is located in the heart of the city. It is one of seven historic districts in Mobile that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district encompasses much of Mobile’s oldest intact business district. It is the only predominately 19th century commercial district within the city.

Originally listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the district’s boundaries were increased in 1982, 1995, 1998 and 2019. At the time of its original listing, the district had lost its importance as a commercial center with the shift of emphasis to shopping centers and malls developed on the outskirts of town. The hope of the city was that historic designation would assist in the encouragement of Dauphin Street’s preservation, restoration and reuse.

Today, the 551 acre historic district includes the full 16-block length of Dauphin Street and contains 736 contributing buildings. Known for its retail, dining, entertainment and nightlife, on street parking is free, with a two hour limit.

Here is a virtual walk through the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District.