You'll feel like a time traveler when you visit Fort Conde, the Fort of Colonial Mobile, a partially reconstructed, 1724 French fort in downtown Mobile, AL!
Fort Conde stood watch over Mobile from 1723 to 1820, just three years shy of 100 years. The fort was built by the French and named after Louis Henri de Bourbon, prince of Conde - but it didn't keep the name long!
The English gained control of the region in 1763, changing the fort's name to Fort Charlotte. Come 1780, the fort changes hands and name once more. Now the Spanish have control and they rename the complex, Fort Carlota. 1813 rolls around and the fort finds itself controlled by U.S. troops and once again called Fort Charlotte.
Is it any wonder, after all that, that the fort is now commonly referred to as the Fort of Colonial Mobile?
Things calmed down in the region after 1813 and, by 1823, the once mighty fort was gone: dismantled.
Zoom forward to the 1970's and a reinterest in celebrating the colonial period of Mobile's history. Careful excavation of the fort's original site and a study of the building plans allows for a reconstruction of the Fort of Colonial Mobile. Of course, the reconstruction had to be a bit smaller than the original to fit in modern Mobile!
The historic Fort Conde compound took up almost 11 acres of land in what is now downtown Mobile. Reconstructing the fort to its original dimensions would have meant tearing down large sections of Royal Street, Government Boulevard, Church Street, Saint Emanuel Street, and Theatre Street!
Consequently, the reconstructed Fort of Colonial Mobile represents about one-third of the original compound, rendered in 4/5-scale. Even dramatically downsized the Fort of Colonial Mobile remains impressive and makes one wonder at how daunting a site the original Fort Conde must have been!
Visitors to the Fort of Colonial Mobile enjoy interactive exhibits, historic artifacts, and more on the peoples of early Mobile, both Native American and European. The complex includes a Colonial Cafe, Trading Post, Colonial Photo Booth, Breakout Room, and a Shooting Gallery.
Guides in period costumes help to provide a fully immersive Colonial experience. Live exhibitions include a Fife and Drum band, a cannon firing, and actors representing historical, Colonial Mobile residents.
The Fort of Colonial Mobile will educate and entertain history buffs and casual visitors alike.
Step back in time to the 18th century and America's colonial days with a visit to Mobile, Alabama's historic Fort Conde!
Built of brick, stone, packed earth, and cedar timbers by the French in 1723 to guard against British or Spanish attack, Fort Conde protected Mobile and its citizens for almost 100 years and under three different names!
From 1723 to 1763, the fortifications were under French rule as Fort Conde. From 1763 to 1780, England was in possession of the region, and renamed the structure Fort Charlotte. From 1780 to 1813 the battlements were known as Fort Carlota while Spain had the upper hand.
Come 1813, Mobile was occupied by US troops, and the English name for the fort - Fort Charlotte - was once again applied. Seven years later, it was determined the fort was no longer needed and, by 1823, almost all visible traces of the fort were under Mobile's newly expanded streets: gone.
Beneath the surface of Mobile, however, the sturdy foundations of Fort Conde remained. In the 1970's, work began to bring some of this historic structure back to life, through careful excavation of the original site and study of the original plans.
While it would have been an impressive feat to bring the entirety of Fort Conde's back to life, such a massive building wouldn't be practical in its current location: the historic fort's original footprint included nearly 11 acres of land, land now currently a large part of downtown Mobile!
Instead, through careful efforts, about one-third of Fort Conde was reconstructed - and even then only at 80% scale. Despite this downsizing, the reconstructed Fort Conde is still an impressive site, serving as the City of Mobile's official welcome center.
Visitors can learn about colonial Mobile while exploring the interactive exhibits in Fort Conde's reconstructed walls and chambers. You'll see historic Native Americans and European artifacts that help to detail the evolution of the Port City and its inhabitants during a time of upheaval and change shaped by innovation, conquest, plunder, piracy, and war.