Architectural historian and AU alumnus to discuss Mobile’s historic ironwork at Jule Collins Smith Museum

This image of Mobile's historic cast iron was captured by photographer Sheila Hagler, whose work is on view in the exhibition ''Iron Lace'' at AU's Jule Collins Smith Museum through April 7.  Hagler produced the photographs for the book authored by John S. Sledge,''An Ornament to the City: Old Mobile Ironwork.''

AUBURN – Architectural historian John S. Sledge will present an illustrated lecture on the architectural ironwork of Mobile on Tuesday, March 4, at 4 p.m. at AU’s Jule Collins Smith Museum as part of the series “New Perspectives: Alabama Art in the Open.” A reception and book signing will follow.

Sledge, architectural historian with the Mobile Historic Development Commission, will discuss that city’s ornamental cast iron in the context of American architectural history. He will also examine so-called “iron lace” in terms of technology, industry and changing consumer tastes.

The exhibition, “Iron Lace: Photographs of Mobile by Sheila Hagler,” is now on view at the museum through April 7. The photographs on display were created for Sledge’s book, “An Ornament to the City.” Both Sledge and Hagler will be available for book signings on March 4.

A graduate of Auburn University and Middle Tennessee State University, Sledge is author of “An Ornament to the City: Old Mobile Ironwork and Cities of Silence: A Guide to Mobile’s Historic Cemeteries,” as well as the forthcoming “Greek Revival Mobile.” He is a regular contributor to scholarly journals and a frequent speaker on history and historic architecture and serves as book review editor for the Mobile Press-Register.

The final lecture in the “New Perspectives” series will take place on Tuesday, March 11. Kelly A. Wacker, University of Montevallo, will discuss a memorial built to honor a Yuchi Indian who returned from the Trail of Tears in her presentation “The Long Walk Home: Te-lah-nay’s Journey and Tom Hendrix’s Wall.”

“New Perspectives” is sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is cosponsored by the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, the AU Art Department and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University. For more information, call the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at (334) 844-4946 or go to

Contact: Betsy Panhorst, (334) 844-4946 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (