After years of being privately managed by a third party, Fort Condé will once again be operated through the History Museum of Mobile, the museum announced Monday in a statement.
The price of admission to the fort will be included in a museum ticket, according to the statement.
“We are excited by the opportunities to serve the Mobile community through historical programming at Colonial Fort Condé,” museum Director Meg McCrummen Fowler said in the statement. “Colonial Fort Condé is a jewel of Mobile and an extraordinary place for history to come alive. We wish the Gulf Coast Ducks well at the beach and thank them for their management of the fort. Now, we look forward to reintroducing the public to Fort Condé.”
Activation Management, the operators of Gulf Coast Ducks, had previously taken over operation of the fort from the museum board in 2016. For much of that time, the agreement between the two sides was not made public. Neither the board nor Activation seemed happy with the agreement by 2019.
Activation Management paid no rent for the facility during its time at the helm, but had to carry a variety of insurance coverages. Activation co-owner Grant Zarzour told Lagniappe at the time the company paid for utilities and staffing at the facility. Activation also used the fort as a launch point for its duck boat tours. Gulf Coast Ducks has announced it is leaving Mobile for the beach, although the company has not yet specified the particular beach. Activation also ran a restaurant, Sylvia’s Biscuits and Poboys, at the fort, but it closed last year.
When Activation first took over, the company planned to rotate the name and attractions at the fort quarterly to correspond with the different colonial powers that controlled Mobile during certain times in history. History Museum of Mobile Marketing and Events Manager Stephanie Evans said that will not continue. Instead, she said, the museum will look at the fort like a Colonial Williamsburg type of attraction. Specific plans are still “evolving,” according to the statement.
“Our vision is that Colonial Fort Condé would be a living history site, a thriving part of the downtown museum district and a place where locals and tourists alike come to experience Mobile’s colonial history,” Fowler said in the statement. “Currently, museum exhibits inside the fort explore the stories of Mobile under French, British, Spanish and American rule. Future plans include self-guided tours and regular demonstrations of colonial life from living history interpreters, including through colonial festivals.”
The fort will be open seven days a week. When the History Museum of Mobile is free on the first Sunday of each month (thanks to a sponsorship from Wind Creek Hospitality), the fort will also be free. “Visitors to the history museum will now have the added benefit of admission to the fort,” Fowler said.
The facility will continue to be available for event rentals, such as weddings, parties and corporate events.
The original Fort Condé was built in 1723 by French explorers. Under various colonial powers, it went by different names, including Fort Louis, Fort Charlotte and Fuerta Carlota.
The extant remnants of the original fort, discovered during the construction of the Wallace Tunnel in 1966, may be seen in Mardi Gras Park, facing Church Street. The replica fort was opened in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. About one-third of the fort was reconstructed, at a four-fifths scale.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).