The Pillared City:
Greek Revival Mobile

By John Sledge

The Pillared City: Greek Revival Mobile

John S. Sledge
Photography by Sheila Hagler
Visit The University of Georgia Press

A classic southern port city seen through its architecture

In The Pillared City, John S. Sledge presents a richly illustrated overview of the Greek Revival period in Mobile, Alabama (1825–70), when high style and vernacular columned buildings were erected on the city’s streets.

Using a wealth of resources such as deeds and diaries, Sledge reveals the architectural accomplishments that helped Mobile emerge from its position as a rustic backwater to become a prominent international seaport. Sledge explains how these buildings relect coastal and national trends and details the surprisingly advanced construction techniques required of the architects and builders.

Sledge offers more than an architectural history, incorporating stories such as how the triple blows of bankruptcy, yellow fever, and ire nearly obliterated Mobile in 1839. The eventful histories behind prominent landmarks such as Barton Academy, Government Street Presbyterian Church, Christ Episcopal Church, Oakleigh, Stewartfield, Georgia Cottage, and the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion are detailed, as are the lives of historical figures like Henry Hitchcock, James and Charles Dakin, James Gallier, Signor Vito Viti, John Trenier Sr., and Augusta Jane Evans.

Featuring sixty contemporary black-and-white photographs by Sheila Hagler and a rich array of historical images, The Pillared City captures the grace and allure of Mobile’s antebellum style.

“Sledge’s literary skill allows him to sustain interest by treating the buildings within the human context that brought them into being—and on occasion brought them down. A hefty slice of Mobile history is served up, with buildings as the primary vehicle through which the story is told.” — Robert Gamble, Senior Architectural Historian, Alabama Historical Commission

“John Sledge’s writing style is reminiscent of those delicious architectural pieces that Brendan Gill used to do for the New Yorker. He knows his history, tells good stories, and makes the buildings and their builders come alive. This is a very distinguished book.” —Winston Groom

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