Inside one of Mobile’s oldest houses, a Dauphin Street home with a secret sword passageway

There are few things that have been present in Downtown Mobile longer than the house at 1154 Dauphin Street.

Though now for sale by its owner, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home was one of the first homes built on the famed street and has held court there for more than 200 years.

The house was built in 1854 on a lot owned by the Kimball family, according to Cartledge Blackwell, curator of the Mobile Carnival Museum. The architect built the home for one of his two daughters, who coincidentally lived right next door. Eventually, the ownership changed to the Chamberlain family, who helped developed that portion of Old Dauphin Way, according to Blackwell.

The home then went through a flurry of owners in the next four decades, along with numerous additions and renovations. Now, the 6,500 square foot home is in the ownership of a toy enthusiast who is letting the home go to move out west to the Golden City of San Francisco.

“Every room has a different look to it,” said Clay Norris of 1702 Real Estate in Mobile, who is the realtor of the home. “He had big goals for the house and wanted to turn it into a masterpiece.”

There’s many things that the home can be called, and a masterpiece is certainly among them.

From the street, the home is akin to something from a fairytale, with bright yellow paneling throughout the exterior and a cylinder-shaped tower-like room in the corner of the home. From the sky, no fewer than 10 windows can be seen from each level of the home.

The color yellow is constant inside of the home as well. After a quick stop in the foyer, you wander into a formal living and dining room which are both perfect for entertaining in, according to Norris. If talking and TVs aren’t enough entertainment for your guests, the home comes with two pianos for entertaining as well.

1154 Dauphin St. Sword Passageway

One of the most unique parts of the home is the sword passageway, installed by the homeowner to pay homage to his love of comic books and other geeky things.Courtesy of Clay Norris

The home’s kitchen continues the yellow theme of the interior. Before you head upstairs though, you should probably check out the seller’s favorite room: the library.

This room is a departure from the bright airy colors at the front of the home. In fact, this room is probably more in line with Dracula.

Half of the room is covered in custom-built floor-to-ceiling bookcases, while the other half is draped in various shades of red. A window seat is available for those that opt not to lounge in couches provided in the room.

The various arches and designs in the home can be credited to the home’s age. The Antebellum era in which the home was built in is reflected in the monumental proportions and Egyptian doors, according to Blackwell. Other portions of the home are mixes of Greek Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne.

Colonial Revival motifs are also present throughout.

Oh yeah, so is a secret passageway, only accessible via a sword.

Located inside of a bookcase in the master bedroom, the sword passageway entrance opens to the servant’s quarter of the home. That, in turn, leads to a 1,000-square-foot finished attic, which can be used for a bedroom, storage space, or in the seller’s case, an extensive collection of toy and comic memorabilia from various eras of history.

1154 Dauphin St. Toy Collection

The seller of the house is an avid toy collector. It’s currently situated in his attic, but will all be going with him upon the sale of the home.

According to Norris, the inspiration for the sword passageway came from the seller’s unique, collectable side of him.

“What better way to store this amazing collection than adding a collectable door? There’s so much history here,” Norris said.

Along with history, though, a home of this age doesn’t come without some issues.

“The house needs some love,” Norris said. “But, if we have the right buyer, this might be a house for themselves or for a bed and breakfast. There’s also Airbnb potential.”

Something else sweetening the pot is the fact that the seller would allow everything to remain in the home after the sale, besides things in the library and his toy collection. According to Norris, those are non-negotiables.

Right now, the home is going for $459,000. It’s Norris’ first big listing and he says he’s been enjoying the ride so far.

“I didn’t go into being a realtor full-time until June of 2019,” Norris said. “I wanted to get more into the renovation aspect of homes and it’s been a fun experience so far.”

To view more pictures of the home, click here.

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