Fairhope Pier Landview

Step back into a 1927 summer on the Fairhope Pier.

black and white photo of the Fairhope Pier in 1927
Photo courtesy Erik Overbey Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama

In the summer of 1927, when the below picture was taken, the Fairhope Pier was abuzz with activity. The pier, which was built in 1906 on the site of the original 1895 pier, was a popular local landmark and the center of most of the town’s activities at the time. A ferry service traveling back and forth from Mobile brought boatloads of people to the attraction. The Fairhope Casino, the multi-level building to the left, had bathhouses on the first floor for beachgoers, and also housed a bowling alley and dance hall. The White Pier, the building at the far right, advertised the Fairhope Single Tax Colony. The beach’s clear water was another draw in the summer heat. The pier itself had a giant slide called The Thriller, a favorite of the children who frequented it. 

Before 1927, Fairhope was almost exclusively accessible by boat. 

The first steamboat “The Fairhope,” was built by townspeople in 1901. Tourists had to pay a 25-cent fare each way to and from Mobile

As tourism increased, so did ship size, with boats carrying both people and automobiles.

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Though bay boats operated up to the early 30s, the June 1927 opening of the Cochrane Bridge (the road and bridges we know today as the Causeway) marked the era’s inevitable end.

By the Numbers

In this year, a drawing in “American Riveria Review” promoted Fairhope as an “all year-round pleasure resort.” 

50 Cents
The rental cost of a wool bathing suit, private locker and towel at the bathhouse; it also provided cotton suit, locker and towel rentals. 

The total number of cars that crossed the new Cochrane Bridge (today’s Causeway) during its first year of operation.

60 Minutes
The amount of time it took to ride a bay boat from Mobile to Fairhope, covering about 15 miles.

Do you know any further details about this photo? Let us know! Email [email protected].

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