The current Fort Conde, located in Mobile, Alabama is about 1/3 of the original fort recreated
opened on July 4, 1976 as part of Mobile's United States bicentennial celebration.
Originally founded in 1702 at 27-Mile Bluff up river, Mobile was relocated in 1711 to the current site where a temporary wooden stockade fort was constructed to protect the town. It was named Fort Louis after the old fort up river. In 1723, construction of a new brick fort with a stone foundation began. Renamed Fort Conde in honor of King Louis XIV's brother.
The original Fort Conde, from 1723, was shaped in the form of a four-pointed star, with guard towers raised at the points with significant surrounding earth works. In design, it is similar to Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.
The settlement of Mobile was aligned parallel to the Mobile River, rather than north/south, so that the fort faced somewhat northeast along an elevated bluff that was lined by "Royal Street" overlooking the marshland sloping down below. (Even in contemporary Mobile, Royal Street is at higher elevation, with the newer streets of Water Street and Commerce Street further down the slopes towards the Mobile River).
Fort Conde protected Mobile and its citizens for nearly 100 years from 1723-1820. It was built by the French as a defense against British and Spanish attack on the strategic location of Mobile and its Bay, the eastern most part of the Louisiana colony. The military importance of Mobile and Fort Conde was huge. The fort and town protected access into the strategic lands between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic colonies along the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers.
Fort Conde and its surrounding features covered about 11 acres of land. It was built of local brick, stone, earthen dirt walls, and cedar wood. Twenty black slaves and five white workmen did initial work on the fort. If the full size fort were present today, it would take up large sections of Church, Royal, Government, St. Emanuel, and Theatre Streets in downtown Mobile.
From 1763 to 1780, England was in possession of Mobile and the fort was renamed Fort Charlotte in honor of King George III's wife. From 1780 to1813, Spain ruled Mobile and the fort was renamed Fort Carlota. In 1813, Mobile was occupied by United States troops and the fort again named Fort Charlotte.
In 1820, Congress authorized the sale and removal of the fort since it was no longer needed for defense. City funds paid for the demolition to make way for new streets and construction built towards the river and southward. By late 1823, most above ground traces of Mobile's fort were gone.
Although Fort Conte is a replica and only a portion of the original size, it offers insight into Mobile's past. It provides a beautiful panorama of Mobile from its top-wall. You can see Historic Church Christ Cathedral across the street, the Museum of Mobile about a block away (the white building on right), the RSA Tower in the skyline, and at the same time watch traffic on Interstate-10 go under the fort.
Admission is free.
Every day 8 am - 5 pm
Fort Conde Museum
150 S. Royal St.
Mobile, Alabama 36652