The Rotary Club of Mobile
June 9, 2016
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Robby McClure, club president at 1215 PM. An invocation was offered by Laureen Lynn and Larry Sindel led the group in song. Jeff Zoghby introduced visiting Rotarians and members’ guests.
Announcements: Robby made the following announcements:
• The board will meet on June 16.
• Roster changes should be given to Peggy ASAP. This is the last call.
Membership Committee: Sumpter McGowin asked for volunteers to serve with him on the Membership Committee and reminded members to be on the lookout for potential members for our club.
Cart Blackwell: The Presence in the Past in the Present – Historic Preservation in Mobile
Mobile has had three golden ages of architecture according to Cart Blackwell. The first from the 1830-s until 1861, the second spanning the first decade of the 20th century and the third from the post-world war era of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Cart discussed the start of preservation in Mobile recalling a resident as early as 1857 lamenting the loss of the early Spanish buildings here. Historical societies were formed by the 1890’s and in the 1930’s the Mobile Historic Preservation Society had been founded. It was also during that era that a New Deal program sought to photograph and document America’s architectural history via the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Mobile was well documented in the survey he noted.
Cart discussed the idea of “adaptive re-use” which came to Mobile in the late 1940’s. Architect and Rotarian George B. Rogers started the trend of recycling old materials in the construction of the Bellingrath Home in 1935 and the idea was used often in the 1950’s he said.
More recent successes in Mobile include the establishment of the Mobile Historic Development Commission in 1962 which has now grown to 15 districts which operate under the jurisdiction of the Review Board. The board works hard to see how it can assist residents rather than cause hurdles he added.
In closing Cart reminded his audience that preservation is not just about preserving buildings but neighborhoods. The rebirth in downtown Mobile is an outgrowth of preservation and assists in the growth of tourism for Mobile as well as for the enjoyment of residents.
After answering a number of questions, Cart was presented a certificate from Robby noting that a donation in his honor had been made to Christ Church Cathedral.
The meeting adjourned at 1PM.