51 South Jackson Street | MOBILE, ALABAMA
The Guesnard House, located on the southeast corner of Jackson and Conti Streets, was built in 1855 by Theodore Guesnard, a prominent Mobile jeweler, and his wife, Zeline, on land purchased in 1846. Mr. Guesnard was one of the incorporator’s in 1854 of the famous “Can’t Get Away Club”, an organization that functioned for the relief of the city in the yellow fever epidemic.
A Guesnard daughter lived here after her marriage to John Craft, Senator from Alabama from 1919 to 1935, and the house was later owned and occupied by their daughter, Ida Craft Pique. After her death, it housed a bookbinding and antique shop until it was acquired by Government Street Presbyterian Church in 1965.
This handsome townhouse, architecturally of the Federal period, is typical of Mobile, Charleston, and Savannah, and is constructed of red primed brick. Distinctive features are the original cast iron fence and galleries in Gothic Revival patterns.
The rooms are large in proportion, averaging eighteen by twenty feet with ceilings fourteen feet high. The floors are the original heart pine, and cypress was used for the majestic front door and window frames.
Dominating the double parlors are walnut and gold cornices with matching pier mirrors. In the second parlor, both the Italian black marble mantel and the gas chandelier of brass, now electrified, are original to the house. The white marble mantel in the front parlor came from the Old Custom House built in the same year, but now demolished. The handsome woodwork is typical Greek Revival design. The house is furnished with period pieces given by church members.
The Guesnard House has been photographed by the Historic American Building Survey and is recorded in the Library of Congress. In 1967, it received the architectural award from the Historic Mobile Preservation Society. It is located in Mobile’s Church Street East Historic District.