The Bragg-Mitchell mansion is a blast from the past. With beautiful architecture and furnishings straight out of wealthy southern society, visitors can come and see what life could have been like for the original inhabitants of the house in the 1800s and 1900s. The stunning Bragg-Mitchell mansion was built by a judge named John Bragg in 1855, for his wife and family to live at during what they called the “social season” in Mobile, Alabama (usually referred to as the period of time from Thanksgiving until the end of Mardi Gras).
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After he passed away, the house has passed through four different families until finally falling into the hands of Explore Center in the 1970s as a donation. Shortly after, the mansion was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and was subjected to a lengthy, multi-million-dollar renovation before being opened for viewing to the general public in the 1980s. Eventually, the plan is to restore the home, all pieces inside the home, and the grounds to historical accuracy. The mission is to educate, inspire, and help facilitate both historic as well as cultural preservation for both the current community and also future generations. To further this mission, the mansion hosts both tours and elegant events and is listed as a non-profit organization.
The main exhibit at the mansion is the mansion itself. With tours, led by the mansion’s experienced tour guides (offered Tuesdays through Fridays hourly from 10am to 3pm), guests can walk through the grounds and have all the important details pointed out, as well as being educated about the history of both the area and the mansion itself. Architectural enthusiasts learn the styles of the mansion and are thrilled to see it first-hand.
The mansion itself is two stories and is built in a “T” pattern in the Greek Revival architectural style. Of particular prominence are the exterior, tall and spindly columns built in the Doric order style, which round the outside of the veranda. These features make the mansion one of the most photographed destinations in the area!
Visitors should also pay attention to the bracketed comic, of Italianate influence, that is also Greek Revival style but with a more modern, stylistic flair. The home contains fourteen different rooms (seven of those room are bedrooms). The bottom level has tall, fifteen-foot ceilings.
The inside is lovingly decorated with pieces of art and furniture that were popular at the time the mansion was inhabited. Bedroom furniture, figurines, and articles of clothing (some that may have been worn by the original residents themselves) grace each bedroom, and the seasons always bring appropriate holiday seasonal decor. Make sure to check out the beautiful, antique crystal chandeliers and imagine what it must have been like to attend a party hosted by the wealthy inhabitants of the mansion in days past. The kitchen is furnished with beautiful, antique china and silverware, set for an elaborate dinner or dinner party. The tables are kept furnished with fresh flowers, some from the grounds. There is even a library, stocked with many antique books and sitting chairs, where the original residents would retreat to read when they had a quiet moment.
The gardens are also another impressive part of visiting the mansion. Fully surrounding the home are oak trees, some that are just as old as the museum itself! Spend some time enjoying the quiet and the fresh, southern air, just like the residents of the mansion did in years past.
The mansion, as one of the most highly photographed destinations in the area, is available for rent. Many couples choose to celebrate their special day at Bragg-Mitchell, which makes it a very popular (and thus sometimes difficult to book) place. Guests are strongly encouraged to call with a potential date as far in advance as possible to verify availability and to pay a deposit to make sure to hold the space.
The mansion can hold up to 250 guests inside, or guests may choose instead to utilize the outdoor space. There are few tables, but it is encouraged to rent tables, chairs, and linens from an outside rental company. A small dance floor area with room for a DJ is available in the mansion as well. All events are booked for eight hours, beginning from the time the door is unlocked. Additional hours can also be purchased, if needed. Catering is not provided and will need to be arranged through an outside company.
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, 1906 Springhill Avenue, Mobile, AL, 36607, Phone: 251-471-6364