The historic and beautiful Oakleigh House, located in Mobile, Alabama, is one of the top rated and visited destinations in the entire state. Guest can view the fine art collection while accompanying one of the Belles on a guided tour of the grounds. The house was built in 1833 by James Roper, a cotton broker from Virginia.
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It was one of the first residences to be built outside of city limits and the Greek Revival architectural style is renowned for being just as unique as it is beautiful.
The attraction of the Oakleigh home is the actual house itself. Offering tours of the home on the hour, from 10am to 4pm Mondays and Tuesdays as well as Thursdays through Saturdays (the house is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays), guests can see this beautiful and historic home and browse the collections inside. The home is still one of the top destinations in the area, due to the grandiose architecture as well as the fine arts found inside. Group tours must be reserved more than 7 days in advance, so guests should keep that in mind when planning their visit to the house. There is a form on the website to fill out and a small fee per tour is required.
Oakleigh Belles - The Preservation Society of Mobile is home to the Oakleigh Belles, young women who volunteer their time to act as tour guides for the house. This program is open to young women who maintain a B average in high school, communicate well, and are interested in historic preservation. They must fill out an application on the website and attend monthly meetings. The Belles make any tour of the house a fun, educational, and interactive experience!
Art collections - The Oakleigh home plays host to museum collection of more than 1000 different artifacts that represent the way life was in Mobile between 1830 and 1900. Visitors should make sure to pay special attention to the Conning silver (made by Mobile native and well-known silversmith James Conning) collection, the Haviland Limoge set of fine china, and the large art collection by artists like Thomas Sully, William West, Louise Heustis, and Roderick McKenzie.
Union Barracks - Also known as the Cook’s House in a previous iteration, admission to the Oakleigh House also includes a tour of the barracks. Built in 1867, the barracks was built to house Union soldiers that were stationed there during Mobile’s Reconstruction period. In fact, the barracks are one of the few surviving buildings from period that are still in existence in the South. Tour the building and learn not only about the Reconstruction period but also Emancipation in Alabama. Admission to the barracks does not include a guided tour. All tours are self-guided.
Throughout the year the Oakleigh puts on a variety of special events at the house. One of the most popular is Christmas at the Oakleigh house. Complete with seasonal decorations, the Christmas event displays the silver collection, allows guests to visit with Santa Claus while listening to Christmas music, and is a perfect opportunity for guests to purchase unique gifts from the onsite gift shop. Tickets must be purchased in advance and that can be done on the website.
There is also a monthly book club meeting for visitors who live in the local area. Hosting a lively discussion of a different book every month, the Oakleigh is the perfect setting to relax and enjoy a great book while hanging out with friends. Check the website for information about what book is being read that month, as well as the time and date for the monthly book club meeting.
There is a specialized program for field trips at the Oakleigh, focusing on the history of Alabama (with a special emphasis on Mobile, Alabama) as well as the Civil War and the impact it had on the area (both during and after with the Reconstruction and Emancipation eras). The tours are recommended for groups of students no younger than middle school age, and school affiliation is not mandatory (home school students are also both welcomed and encouraged to visit).
Reserving a tour must be done by groups of at least 15 students, but may include no more than 40 students at a time. Contact the museum, either by filling out the form on the website or by calling them directly, for more information about cost (there is a discount rate available for field trips) and to book a tour. Payment can be made ahead of time or at the time of the tour.
Historic Oakleigh House, 300 Oakleigh Place, Mobile, AL, 36604, Phone: 251-432-1281