The handsome downtown landmark at Government and Emmanuel streets began in 1855 as two federal-style buildings of shops and living accommodations. Joseph Peter used the corner section as a fruit market, with his residence above. Larimer Price owned the central, taller portion. In 1871, Caleb Price united the properties with a second-floor balcony to become the LaClede Hotel.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the LaClede was one of the city’s centers for genteel social functions until the newly built Battle House surpassed it in popularity. Ultimately, in 1963, the stately LaClede closed its doors for many of the same reasons as the Bienville Hotel (seen on page 92).
Twenty years later, a group of investors, including Jim Mattei, cofounder of the Checkers burger chain, renovated the old girl into a modern office facility. The wrought iron railings and checkerboard floor of the LaClede’s glory days are still very much a part of this showplace at the mouth of the Bankhead Tunnel.
The historic photograph shows the LaClede in 1951, against the modern skyline of a bustling 21st century Mobile.
Historic photo courtesy of Charles W. Cushman Collection, Indiana University Archives.
text and photo by Catt Sirten