It is newly renovated and all spiffed up for a big celebration. Bienville Square in downtown Mobile will observe its 200th anniversary on Friday at 11 a.m.

A short presentation will be followed by live music in the park. Food is available for purchase from food trucks and downtown restaurants.

Very few cities outside of the 13 original colonies have a central park that is 200 years old and still in daily use. Mobile is over 300 years old – older than many cities in the eastern states.

The event is free. No ticket or RSVP is needed.

Mobile Mayor Sandys Stimpson extended this invitation:

For 200 years, this fabulous park has been the backdrop of so many cherished memories. Every Mobilian has a story about Bienville Square, and that's why we want Mobilians to help us celebrate this Friday. A short presentation will highlight the park's history and recent renovations beginning at 11 a.m.

Stick around afterward to hear live music guitarist Mark Habib and enjoy lunch from local food trucks or one of the great restaurants downtown. We hope to see you there!

Bienville Square has been the site for 200 years of personal history of Mobile area people. It has hosted speeches, outdoor receptions, musical performances, Labor Day celebrations, marriage proposals, street preachers, veterans' events, and an occasional protest.

The square was named for the founder of Mobile: Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. To save public money on signage, a decision was made to use only the last name of Bienville.

The square occupies an entire square block in downtown Old Mobile bounded by the streets of Dauphin, St. Joseph, St. Francis and North Conception. The GPS address is 150 Dauphin Street.

There is the apocryphal saying: “To be ‘Old Mobile,’ you had to be born under an Azalea bush in Bienville Square on Mardi Gras Day.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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