The Ketchum Fountain and Historic Moments in Bienville Square

Updated: Sep 9


Ketchum Fountain, ajpiphotos.wordpress.com (or see HistoricMobilePrints.square.site / ajpiphotos.wordpress.com)

Spearheaded by the Downtown Parks Conservatory group, the Ketchum Fountain has been temporarily removed from Bienville Square much-needed restoration. This is part of the first phase of work slated to revitalize the entire Square.




Here are a few reminders of Bienville Square's significance as the historic center of the community.


Bienville Square c. 1890


Local historian Caldwell Delaney described Bienville Square in
The Story of Mobile, published in 1953.

Probably Mobile's most prized possession today is Bienville Square. For many years it has been the center of the life of the city, serving as a meeting place for the people and a monument to the great men who have contributed to its founding and growth. In Spanish times the Royal Hospital stood on part of what is now the square, and the rest of it was owned by private citizens, many of whom lived there. When Mobile became American, the United States gave the hospital property to the city on the condition that it be used as a public park. For many years the land was neglected, and people pastured their pigs, cows and horses there. Some, who lived near, hung out their laundry there, and people began to complain that what was intended to be a beautiful park had become an eyesore...In 1858 a fine iron fence with big gates was built around it, and it began to look like a park. Gradually it came to be the center of civic life ...There have been times when progressive city officials have suggested selling the square for business sites, but the condition still stands that if it ever ceases to be a park for the use and pleasure of the people of Mobile and their guests it reverts to the United States Government.




1867

Mobile Described by Traveler

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), February 1, 1867




1905

President Theodore Roosevelt spoke

to a crowd of 40,000 in Bienville Square.




Philadelphia Inquirer, October 24, 1905


Daily Herald, October 24, 1905




1906

The Colonial Dames Society erected a cross in Bienville Square in honor of

Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Bienville



Montgomery Advertiser, February 26, 1906


1916

Mardi Gras Coronation in Bienville Square


Montgomery Advertiser, January 5, 1916


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