The town of Decatur, named after Commodore Stephen Decatur Jr., hero of Barbary Pirate war fame, was founded in 1820 and was the site of the northern branch of the State Bank of Alabama which opened in 1833. Bank Street was the commercial center of the town with residential streets flanking its perimeter.
For many years, Decatur was the primary place in the Tennessee Valley where riverboats, wagons and railroads converged, thereby making it a key strategic site before, during and after the Civil War. The town suffered considerable damage during that war with only 3 buildings predating the war still standing. The town was rebuilt in Victorian and other more modern styles beginning in 1865.
Its sister town to the southeast, “New Decatur” rose to prominence after the Civil War, was renamed “Albany” in 1916, and the two towns merged in 1927 pursuant to an Act of the Alabama Legislature.
In the early 1980s, through the efforts of local resident volunteers, together with a professional historic preservation specialist, “Old Decatur,” including Bank Street, was surveyed, nominated, and accepted for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Every home in the historical overlay served by the Historic Preservation Commission of Decatur is detailed and listed on the National Register.
Many fine examples of Italianate, Victorian, Shingle-style and Craftsman bungalow architectural styles line the streets of Old Decatur, including one Art Deco dwelling, “Fort Nash,” which was built in 1939.
Old Decatur residents take great pride in their period and eclectic décor indoors and out. Their attention to detail is never more on display than Christmastime. Drink it in. You will be amazed!