Shrine Auditorium – Mobile, Alabama

Opened In: Late 1940s (current location)

Location: Corner of Government and George Streets Mobile, AL, behind the Blacksher Mansion.

Seating Capacity: 2,500

 

The building known as the Shrine Auditorium was once called the Wharf Arena and was located at the end of Dauphin Street along the Mobile River. It was relocated to its current location after World War II and used by the Shriners for various functions. Wrestling promoter Joe Gunther started holding his cards there in the late 1940s. The mansion it sits behind was built by the Blacksher family from Monroe County, AL and used as a summer home. The Shriners bought the mansion in the early 1940s and used it as their headquarters. Besides wrestling, the Shrine Auditorium was used for various other events as it was the largest venue in Mobile in the early 1950s. Elvis Presley once played there early in his career. In late 1956 Buddy Fuller abandoned the Shrine as his main location in Mobile and moved into the Fort Whiting Armory. The move was made because the Shriners would not allow black fans to attend the cards at the Shrine, and Fuller did not agree with that policy. The building is still standing but is no longer in use. The Blacksher mansion (now called Blacksher Hall) is now privately owned and is used for various functions such as wedding receptions, etc.

 

Blacksher Hall, the Shrine Auditorium in on the left.

 

Shrine Auditorium mid 2000s