|Advertisement for Frascati|
July 5, 1876
The park was situated at the end of the Old Shell Road. A drive down this beautiful road alone was considered an enjoyable Sunday outing.
|"Toll at Frascati" Vintage Postcard|
(writing dated 1905)
In an interview in the Mobile Register in 1977 with then 95-year-old Mrs. John Marston, she remembered Frascati:
"It was about two acres, most of it along the bay. Mrs. Marston remembers that there were benches, and that summer theatre was presented there. Light opera companies presented the Mikado and similar fare, and that Frascati had an open air restaurant with latticework.
There were swings and seesaws for amusement, as well as something called a 'Flying Jenny,' Mrs. Marston said. 'It had about a 12-foot board hitched to a post in the middle of the board. People would get on each side, and somebody would get in the middle and push. Then when it was going he'd sneak out on all fours." [Mobile Register, July 10, 1977; page 18]
|Horst Summer Home at Frascati (built about 1840)|
[photograph taken by WPA 1937]
|Family Summer Residence (left) & Park Restaurant|
Two story structure now torn down
On July 4, 1876, the date of America's 100th birthday, cities and towns across the country organized and held grand celebrations. Mobile, too, celebrated throughout the city, including a large all day event at Frascati Park. [Read article below]
|Centennial Celebration in Mobile|
from Mobile Register
July 5, 1876
[CLICK TO READ FULL ARTICLE]
After Martin Horst's death in 1878 Edward (1858-1901), his second son, managed Frascati. By 1888, the property had been sold to R.C. Kennedy who continued to run it as before.
In June 1882, Oscar Wilde, the famed Irish writer and poet, lectured on 'Decorative Art' at Frascatti's Summer Theatre during his tour through the South, still recovering from the War. In a retrospective published 1978, the Mobile Register recalled the days leading up to his visit:
"In Mobile 96 years ago, June was a hot month especially the last week in June. Mobilians who could do so forsook the nearly 100-degree weather for cooler surroundings while those who remained made the best of it by going, whenever possible, to the bay.
An especially popular spot on the bay was Frascati near Choctaw Point. Here one could enjoy the beach, sip something refreshing at the bar, attend a program at the Summer Theatre, or just lounge under the live oaks swaying in the gentle breezes.
On the last Sunday of the month the crowd of bathers were treated to an additional and very uncommon amusement: two men came onto the beach and, after undressing themselves, entered the water where they frolicked for some 15 minutes. The shocked crowd scattered in all directions. Later, at Recorder's Court, the judge whose notions of proper ways to beat the heat did not include this one fined the men $5 each. All a bit sensational, and later in the week occurred another exhibition that was not much less so." [Mobile Register; August 20, 1978; page 108]
On October 2, 1893, Mobile was hit by the severest storm ever recorded there at the time. Southeast gale winds of 72 miles an hour hit the area and waters from the bay overflowed into downtown. There was a record-breaking rain and many of the cities old live oak trees fell. The storm completely destroyed Frascati and the Old Shell Road. Frascati was not reconstructed.
After the park was destroyed, Monroe Park was opened (where Brookley Field is now located) and it reportedly catered to a "more democratic clientele . . . of middle and working class people".
The entertainment park Mobile's citizens once enjoyed is now part of the industrial area around Mobile's Port Authority property. "Frascati Shops", a railroad car service company, was still using the original 1800's building attached to the right side of the Horst family's summer residence for its tools and equipment, as late as 2009. Alabama Port Authority Bids for the building were announced in 2009 - its fate is currently unknown.