Stories and Places : James Gallier in Mobile

Barton Academy Dome at Twilight

After designing Barton Academy and Government Street Presbyterian Church, in collaboration with the Dakin Brothers, in Mobile, James Gallier, Sr. became prominent and influential architect in New Orleans and is most often associated with his work there. But here are a couple of interesting tidbits which show what a significant impact Mobile actually had in his life.

This excerpt from his autobiography describes a contest held by the City of Mobile inviting architects to submit plans for a city hall in the center of Bienville Square. It was never built of course but he goes on to describe winning this competition as the catalyst for his career in both Mobile and New Orleans.

It’s also interesting that he met his much-younger second wife in Mobile, Catherine Maria Robinson. He retired after they married and spent years traveling across Europe. They died together tragically however, on the Evening Star steamship which sunk in 1866, killing over 250 people.

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