The Fort Conde Inn in Mobile Alabama is one of the most beautiful bed and breakfasts I have stayed in.  It is fair to say I haven’t stayed in many b&b’s but that doesn’t mean that this rare Inn isn’t lovely.  This old, plantation style house whispers of old Southern ghost stories before you even know there are ghost stories there.  The house is in a lonely corner of the busy downtown of Mobile and theentire street it is on feels strangely out of time.  Just to the right of tall, modern sky scrapers and a garishly modern convention center there is a small park dedicated to the history of Mardi Gras.   American Mardi Gras as we know it was founded in Mobile and transported to New Orleans. The little park serves as a reminder of that.  Past the park, there are interstates and busy roads but in between the park and the roads there is a quiet place with an old church and old buildings that seem to be almost forgotten. The old court house and Fort Le Conde stand watch to the one road that leads to this quiet place where history seems to own the roads.

This quiet place is owned almost entirely by the same developer.  He bought this area for The Fort Conde Inn and although the main building is the one most associated with the hotel, the entire neighborhood is part of the Inn and is owned by the same developer.  This area was once the red light district in Mobile.  If you came off a boat and you wanted a bit of fun, the building to the left of the main Inn was once a brothel and the other buildings were bars and houses of ill repute.  Built in 1836, the main hotel was once owned by a wealthy plantation owner, but once this little corner of Mobile went down hill, it was abandoned to decay.

Eventually, even the prostitutes and drug dealers abandoned the corner of Mobile and just let it fall to ruin.  But thankfully, it was purchased and re purposed and is now an Inn with cabins and a venue for weddings.  The cobblestone streets and gas streetlights give the entire area a feeling of other worldliness.   Ghost stories abound on these cobblestone streets and everyone tells them a bit differently.  The internet speaks of clawing and disembodied voices, but those that work there say that they can’t imagine any bad spirits in the Fort Conde Inn.  One employee spoke of an old civil war soldier who liked to sit on the front porch of one of the old houses and watch the Inn. She spoke of the ghost of a prostitute who could be seen through one of the windows.  The ghost tour guide didn’t say much about specific ghosts but said that bad things must have happened in the old red light district.  She said ghost stories where prolific, but was oddly reluctant to tell them, perhaps because I was staying there.

I didn’t see any ghosts while I was there.  I enjoyed a brilliant breakfast and pet the cats that wandered in and out of the courtyard.  I sat on the porch at night and listened to the eerie silence in such a busy downtown area, but I didn’t see anything creepy.   I hope the ghost stories are true, however, because The Fort Conde Inn feels so haunting it should be haunted.

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