An Ornament to the City
Old Mobile Ironwork
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Ornament to the City by John S. Sledge
Book DescriptionThe "iron lace" that graces the businesses, homes, squares, and cemeteries of Mobile, Alabama, is as vital a part of that southern port city as it is of New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah. Until now, its story has never been fully told. In this attractive volume, John S. Sledge's rich narrative, combined with evocative historic images and Sheila Hagler's stunning contemporary photographs, eloquently conveys as never before how ornamental cast iron defines Mobile's heart and soul. Cast iron was the wonder of the Victorian age, according to Sledge. In Mobile, the material's diverse applications were on display in hulking locomotives and boilers, flamboyant fountains, imposing fences, and endless other forms and structures. The city's ornate iron balconies, dozens of which still remain, elicited the greatest wonder, then as now. Local publications have long extolled Mobile's enchanting ironwork. Only now, however, has the subject been situated within national trends in design, industry, and consumer tastes. It is a colorful saga featuring rawboned iron founders, artisan slaves, hustling salesmen, conniving architects, willful plunderers, romantic artists, and dedicated preservationists. Drawing on rare surviving business records and other archival sources, Sledge skillfully reconstructs how the local iron industry developed and then fiercely competed with big northern foundries. As a working preservationist, Sledge pays particular attention to how many of Mobile's most splendid ornamental iron pieces have weathered hard times, natural disasters, and misguided development to remain a delight for tourists and residents alike. Hagler's beautiful photographs provide a powerful and sometimes moody visual accompaniment to this fascinating tale.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780820327006
(279mm x 279mm x 16mm)
Imprint: University of Georgia Press
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publish Date: 15-Sep-2006
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author John S. Sledge
Mobile River, Hardback (July 2015)
Presents the first-ever narrative history of this important American watercourse. Inspired by the Rivers of America series, John S. Sledge weaves chronological and thematic elements with personal experiences and more than sixty colour and black-and-white images for a rich and rewarding read.
Pillared City, Hardback (October 2009)» View all books by John S. Sledge
Presents an 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. This title reveals the architectural accomplishments that helped Mobile emerge from its position as a rustic backwater to become a prominent international seaport.
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Author Biography - John S. Sledge
John S. Sledge is an architectural historian for the Mobile Historic Development Commission and Book Editor for the Mobile Register. Sheila Hagler is a professional photographer living in Grand Bay, Alabama. Sledge and Hagler previously collaborated on Cities of Silence, an illustrated study of Mobile's historic cemeteries.
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