With a complete restoration, The Steeple on St. Francis Street is ready to open its doors to guests.
The owners, Cliff and Ginna Inge, have been renovating the old St. Francis Street Methodist Church since they purchased the building in early 2014. Renamed The Steeple, it will be used as a multi-functional event space available for rent.
The church was originally opened in 1842, but was destroyed by fires from the Mobile magazine explosion of 1865. A disaster that left hundreds dead and most of downtown severely damaged when 200 tons of shells and powder exploded in a warehouse on Beauregard Street. After the church was tragically charred by those fires, it was later demolished and rebuilt in 1895. The church would live a long and healthy life for the next century until its doors were eventually closed in 1994.
Now, Ginna Inge is looking forward to carrying the building’s rich and unique history into the 21st century by making the space available for various functions such as weddings and concerts. The restoration cost more than a million dollars and took more than a year and a half to complete. It began with foundation stabilization and evicting a flock of pigeons out of the bellower. The beautiful stained glass windows were restored along with restoring light fixtures that were originally installed in 1935. A new elevator was installed making the building handicap accessible.
You can expect to see awesome marble tile in the foyer, dark, smooth mahogany handrails along the stairs ascending to the open space on the second floor with pine floors and natural light coming in from the tall stained glass windows. The space contains a balcony too and has various smaller rooms downstairs. Outside are the cornerstones displaying 1842 and 1895, representing both of the completed dates of the church.
As of now The Steeple has booked several weddings; a music series is scheduled to begin Aug. 27, with a benefit put on by The Southern Rambler. “A Ramblin’ Night” will feature Shawn Mullins, The Mulligan Brothers and Eric Erdman, who will be raising money to buy benches for the Wave bus riders in Mobile. Tickets begin at $35 and are available here.
The Steeple staff is excited about the future shows here and the experience it can bring.
“You’ll be able to come in and get an intimate music experience with maybe a larger artist that you’re usually much further away from. Really what you’re getting is a unique experience in a cool space,” said Executive Director Mary-Lacey Zeiders.
Ginna Inge is very passionate about the Mobile area and its arts. She said they purchased the building and set a goal. She believes our city needs a place like this, and is worthy of a place like this.
“We hope this space is used, not only to benefit the community, but it’s used for inspiration also. It was always inspiring in some faith based way, and so perhaps it will inspire people and their souls to write a new song or play a new tune,” Inge said.
The capacity of the space is 500 and tours are available by appointment only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For booking information or more information on The Steeple’s journey you can visit thesteeplemobile.com.
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