12. Historic House

These photographs are of Bertha and Henry Bernstein, the original owners of this magnificent home. Henry had the house built as a “birth present” for Bertha upon the birth of their son, Jacob Henry. The Bernsteins came to Mobile from Bavaria, for Mr. Bernstein became a successful leather merchant. This home was completed in October of 1872 and occupied by the Bernstein’s until the mid-1890s when Mr. Bernstein moved to New York to be near his children, following the death of his beloved Bertha.

For the next thirty or so years the Bush family lived here. One of the Bush boys, Curtis Bush, grew up in this house, reigned as King Felix III in 1935, and later served as mayor of Mobile.

In the front of the house, notice the shotgun design, twin parlors, chandeliers that were changed from gas to electric, ornate crown molding and the heart of pine floor. Subsequently, the house became the Roche Funeral Home until the 1950s, when the funeral business moved to West Mobile. The building remained vacant for a few years, and the wrecking ball was headed its way. The City of Mobile stepped in and eventually made this the Historic Museum of the City of Mobile. When old City Hall was vacated, this museum moved to that historic site.

The Mobile Carnival Association then leased the premises from the city and in February, 2005, opened the doors of the Emily and William Hearin Mobile Carnival Museum.