As the Civil War approached, Mobile boasted one of the busiest ports in the nation. That nosedived in the post-bellum period with exports dropping by 66 percent in one four-year period.

In the early 20th century, Mobile leaders changed their viewpoint on relations with the federal government and turned it to their advantage with $3 million in improvements to the port between 1890 and 1915. The increased value of the port during World War I furthered those aims and culminated in the construction of the state docks in the 1920s.

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, University of Mobile Assistant Professor of History Dr. Matthew Downs will take an audience through a phase that brought Mobile’s port to a state instrumental for World War II. The program “The Battle of Commerce Is Begun: Building the Port of Mobile after World War I” is part the History Museum of Mobile’s (11 S. Royal St.) monthly Learning Lunch program.

Entrance to the noontime meet-up is free. Participants are invited to bring their own lunch and enjoy complimentary beverages.

For more information, call Curator of Education Jennifer Fondren at 251-208-7510 or go to

Fairhope quilt show hosts opening
The Azalea City Art Quilters have an illustrious history of turning a treasured folk craft into works of art that transcend mere utilitarian roles. Their expansion of fabric, stitching, paint and other embellishments into expressions of the human experience hold a cherished spot in Bay area life.

Their new show at the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship (1150 Fairhope Ave.) will host an opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 3 p.m. that is free and open to the public. Attendees can see these artisans who use traditional methods together with fusing, machine stitching, appliqué and embellishment in their work.

For more information call 251-623-4072.

Books and flicks together at library
Jesse Andrews’ 2012 debut novel “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” deals with universal themes of high school social struggle and confrontations of mortality. When it was selected for big-screen interpretation, no one had any idea it would end up winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

The PG-13 film will be the focus of the Mobile Public Library’s Book Yak and Movie Snack on Friday, Aug. 5, at 4 p.m. at the Moorer/Spring Hill Branch (4 S. McGregor Ave.). Admission is free.

For more information call 251-470-7770.