|Martin Horst House|
407 Conti Street, Mobile, Alabama
In a letter dated January 12, 1868, to his brother Charles (Carl) in Metropolis, Illinois, Martin wrote:
"I am just now finishing up my new dwelling I have been building which cost me twenty-six thousand dolls. Seven thousand more than I calculated on, and when I began last Spring I had only twelve Thousand Cash hoping at that time to collect by Jan. 1st at least six or seven Thousand dolls. that I could draw out of my business but so far I have not been able to collect one dolls. of this money and probable never will; as most people who owe any money are taking the benefit of the Bankrupt Law and than them is a very poor showing. At present I am paying one or two per. pr. for money I had to borrow as I could not collect what is due me four & five months ago. People are very indifferent about it whether they pay you or not the only Satisfaction they give you is; wait until I have some money then I will pay you. This are trying times down here. No money and no Business and none in Prospect. But had I known Six months ago that such time was in Store for us I would have kept my twelve Thousand dolls. in hand and could buy this day a house for it equally as good as the one I have paid 26,000. Nobody knew such things would come to pass. Houses do not bring the value of the Bricks this day, not one half of what they cost to build in 1860 or even two years ago. Such is the State of affairs all over the Southern States; and will remain so as long as radical Thiefs rule this once happy Country...."
Builder George Woodward Cox was born in London in 1814. An orphan, he was sent in 1828 by two sisters to live with his half-brother, William Cox, who was an established builder and contractor in Mobile. George Cox was an apprentice to his brother until William's death in 1832. In spite of this, Cox prospered; at the age of twenty-one he was a successful bidder for the United States Arsenal at Mount Vernon, near Mobile. He built other residences in the city. He died in Mobile in 1869.
|from Historic American Building Survey|
|Robert E. Lee bust in Parlor Archway|
|Front Gate of Home|
|Bernard's Restaurant Menu|
|from Mobile Press-Register|
July 11, 1965
[CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE]
The house has been called "The Martin Horst House," "The Horst-Zoughby House," "Moongate Restaurant" and "Bernard's Restaurant". It is now called The Ezell House, and is the site of weddings, receptions and parties. Their website has a "virtual tour" of the interior of the home - http://www.ezellhouse.com/. The space is available for rent - I hope one day to rent the house for a "Horst Family Reunion" (hint, hint). My parents took me to Bernard's for lunch back in the '80's. I wish I would have paid more attention at the time.
The house also has a Facebook page - Martin Horst House - which you can check out and "Like".