The Pillared City
Greek Revival Mobile

John S. Sledge
Photography by Sheila Hagler

A classic southern port city seen through its architecture


"John Sledge's writing style is reminiscent of those delicious architectural pieces that Brendan Gill used to do for the New Yorker. He knows his history, tells good stories, and makes the buildings and their builders come alive. This is a very distinguished book."
—Winston Groom

"This much-needed book promises to be an instant classic. Both journalist and historian, Sledge uncovers fascinating new details about Greek Revival, that uniquely beautiful style. He goes far beyond architecture, using his effortless prose to craft a vivid social history of the antebellum city."
—W. Barksdale Maynard, School of Architecture, Princeton University

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In The Pillared City, John S. Sledge presents a richly illustrated overview of the Greek Revival period in Mobile, Alabama (1825–70), when high style and vernacular columned buildings were erected on the city’s streets.

Using a wealth of resources such as deeds and diaries, Sledge reveals the architectural accomplishments that helped Mobile emerge from its position as a rustic backwater to become a prominent international seaport. Sledge explains how these buildings reflect coastal and national trends and details the surprisingly advanced construction techniques required of the architects and builders.

Sledge offers more than an architectural history, incorporating stories such as how the triple blows of bankruptcy, yellow fever, and fire nearly obliterated Mobile in 1839. The eventful histories behind prominent landmarks such as Barton Academy, Government Street Presbyterian Church, Christ Episcopal Church, Oakleigh, Stewartfield, Georgia Cottage, and the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion are detailed, as are the lives of historical figures like Henry Hitchcock, James and Charles Dakin, James Gallier, Signor Vito Viti, John Trenier Sr., and Augusta Jane Evans.

Featuring more than fifty-five contemporary black-and-white photographs by Sheila Hagler and a rich array of historical images, The Pillared City captures the grace and allure of Mobile’s antebellum style.

Page count: 184 pp.
Trim size: 8.5 x 11


List price: $44.95

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John S. Sledge is an architectural historian with the Mobile Historic Development Commission and book editor for the Mobile Press-Register. Sheila Hagler is a professional photographer living in Grand Bay, Alabama. Sledge and Hagler previously collaborated on Cities of Silence: A Guide to Mobile’s Historic Cemeteries and An Ornament to the City: Old Mobile Ironwork (Georgia).