Lacy Charm in Old Mobile: The Historic Cast Iron of Alabama’s First City

All photographs by Sheila Hagler.

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Lacy Charm in Old Mobile: The Historic Cast Iron of Alabama’s First City

by John S. Sledge, SheilaHagler
Southern Cultures, Vol. 12, No. 3: Fall 2006

"Virtually every American city accessible by water had some ornamental cast iron, but it was nowhere more exuberantly employed than in the Deep South."

Visitors frequently refer to Mobile’s historic ironwork as wrought iron, but the majority of it is cast iron. Cast iron, cheap and easy to produce in an infinite variety of shapes and designs, captured the imagination of nineteenth-century tastemakers seeking dramatic effect. Virtually every American city accessible by water had some ornamental cast iron, but it was nowhere more exuberantly employed than in the Deep South, particularly the Gulf ports, where wooden structures too rapidly succumbed to the semitropical climate.

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