Bienville Square - Mobile, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 30° 41.551 W 088° 02.599
16R E 400077 N 3395990
Quick Description: The pre-1940 OST passed Bienville Square after travelers disembarked from the ferry that carried folks across Mobile Bay from Daphne AL to the City of Mobile. After 1940, the OST was realigned to enter Mobile from the Bankhead Tunnel.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 4/20/2016 9:07:37 AM
Waymark Code: WMQZQM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 5

Long Description:
Travelers on the oldest route of the OST would pass by Bienville Square because the first alignment of the OST followed Dauphin Street from the ferry landing to Concepcion St.

From the Drive the OST website: (visit link)

"OST through the old city of Mobile runs through some beautiful neighborhoods and, heading out of the city, travelers can now stop for a few hours to enjoy the beauty of the gardens at Bellingrath before driving on to the Mississippi coastal highway. The 1930 Gulf Oil Alabama State Map contains a not very detailed map of the city of Mobile that does show the route from what would have been the ferry landing on the Mobile River at Dauphin Street and then through the city.

If you look closely at the entrance to the Mobile River from the bay, you can see the dotted line indicating the route ferries took from the east bay at Daphne to Dauphin Street in Mobile. From Dauphin Street, travelers would turn south on Conception to Government Road then, after a few miles, left onto Fulton Rd. which turns slightly to the right to Halls Mill Rd. and, after crossing Eslara Creek, drive west to the State of Mississippi."

Bienville Plaza has been this city's great amenity for centuries. Several historic markers and plaques are installed here.

One plaque, written only in French, is affixed to a boulder near the southeast corner of Conception St at St. Francis Street, which reads as follows:

"A la gloire de
Le Heros de la Baie D’Hudson,
de Terre-Neuve, et de Nevis
Qui fonda en 1702
Premiere Ville de la Louisiane Francaise
Ne a Montreal en 1661
Mort a La Havane en 1706
Apposee de la Mission Nationale Francais organisee en 1937 par la Comite de Francias-Amerique"

Mama Blaster will apologize in advance for any rusty French as she translates the marker into English:

"To the glory of
Hero of Hudson's Bay, Newfoundland, and Nevis
Who founded in 1702
The first city in French Louisiana
Born in Montreal in 1661
Died in Havana in 1706
Erected in 1937 by the French-American Committee"

Nearby, another state historic marker remembers Bienville Square as the site of the first meeting of the Salvation Army in Mobile:


At the corner of Conception and St. Francis streets, Capt. Edward Justus Parker, Staff Capt. Charles Miles, and a Salvation Army lieutenant conducted an open air meeting on the night of their arrival in March 1887. In contrast to earlier Salvation Army openings in other cities, the Mobile audience was polite. Men removed their hats as prayer was offered and those in attendance respectfully participated in singing and dropped coins into the collection plate.

Mobile became an official Salvation Army Corps on October 13, 1899, with Capt. and Mrs. James T. Cumbie in command. The Army's first Corps Community Center in Mobile was located at 213 Conti St., where it remained from the late 1930s to the late 1960s.

The Salvation Army's fight against human suffering -- started in 1863 in London by Gen. William Booth -- is still helping people to help themselves, though its methods have changed with the times.

Dedicated June 14, 1987 by Commissioner James Osborne, commander of the Army's Southern Territory."

In 2012 Bienville Square was named on the the 10 Great Public Spaces in the US: (visit link)

"American Planning Association Designates
Bienville Square a Top 10 Great Public Space for 2012
Park Noted for Design, History and Surrounding Architecture

Mobile, Ala. – The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of Bienville Square as one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2012 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities including fostering economic growth and jobs.

APA singled out Bienville Square, the historic heart of downtown Mobile, for a design – featuring radial walkways, a central fountain, and canopy of Live Oak trees – that allows it to serve as a refuge for people and local wildlife, stunning view of the downtown skyline, and commitment among residents to both preserve this cherished icon and build upon its legacy.

“Bienville Square stands as a testament to Mobile’s resilience, its character, its historic beauty, and as a welcoming public venue that lights the path to our city’s hospitality,” said Mayor Sam Jones. “Sitting in the heart of our downtown, Bienville Square has weathered the revitalization of downtown and the transformation of the city’s skyline. It also serves as a reminder of some of the city’s greatest amenities, notably in the canopy of oak trees, the azaleas and a breathtaking look back into the city’s past.”

Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes streets,
neighborhoods and public spaces whose unique and authentic characteristics have evolved from thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners.

The 2012 Great Places, which offer more choices for where and how people work and live, have many of the features Americans say are important to their “ideal community” including close, locally owned businesses; transit; neighborhood parks; and sidewalks."

Older history is found here, at wikipedia: (visit link)

"Bienville Square is a historic city park in the center of downtown Mobile, Alabama. Bienville Square was named for Mobile’s founder, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. It takes up the entire block bordered by the streets of Dauphin, Saint Joseph, Saint Francis, and North Conception.


Bienville Square had its beginnings as a public park in 1824 when the United States Congress passed an act that transferred a large plot of land to the city of Mobile and specified that the property be forever used as a city park. This plot was the site of the old Spanish Hospital on the southwestern corner of the block, at the corner of Dauphin Street and North Conception Street. The city began buying the other lots in the block in 1834 and by 1849 held title to the entire block. The square was a primary gathering place for residents of the city from the 1850s to the 1940s. The late 1960s saw Bienville Square in its most run-down condition as people moved away from downtown to the suburbs. The revival of downtown starting in the 1980s saw the popularity of the park increase and its upkeep resumed.

Notable events

Theodore Roosevelt spoke in the square in 1905 about the importance of the Panama Canal to the port of Mobile. It was the site of many mass meetings by shipyard workers from Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company during World War II as the company experienced labor disputes.


In the 1850s walkways, a now removed cast iron fence, benches, and live oak trees were added. The large cast iron fountain with an acanthus leaf motif was added to the center of the square in the 1890s. A new bandstand was added to the park in 1941 to replace one from the Victorian era."
Submission Criteria:

Distinctive or Significant Interest

Website with More Information: [Web Link]

Address of Waymark:
Dauphin St at N Concepcion Sts
Mobile, AL USA

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Bienville Square - Mobile, AL 3/8/2016 Benchmark Blasterz visited it