"Welcome to Decatur, Georgia" Decatur by rexvaughan
Decatur Travel Guide: 73 reviews and 176 photos
Decatur is located adjacent to Atlanta and about 7 miles east of the center of the city. This helps make it, in my opinion, a great place to live. It is in the midst of a metropolitan area but retains some characteristics and feeling of a small town.
Decatur covers 4 square miles and includes numerous pleasant residential neighborhoods with streets lined by very large and beautiful trees and diverse architecture including a lot of 1920's craftsman style. It also has a racially diverse population of about 18,000 and its own city government, and more importantly, its own school system which consistently rates as one of the best in the state if not the southeast US. The population tends to be above average in education, includes a lot of Baby Boomers as well as a significant number of African Americans, older people, couples with young children and a significant gay and lesbian group. It is older than Atlanta. It is home to Agnes Scott College, a small school (about 1000 students) for women as well as Columbia (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary.
The homey character of the town and the liberal political bent of its citizens led one Atlanta journalist to describe it as a combination of Berkley and Mayberry. It is not an inaacurate characterization.
In case you are interested, the town is named for Stephen Decatur, a Commodore in the War of 1812 and in Algiers during the Tripolitan conflict. He is the source of the often misused line: "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country right of wrong." He was killed in a duel in 1820.
The photo is of a statue dedicated to Elizabeth Wilson, Mayor Emerita of Decatur. Elizabeth was the first female and first African-American mayor of the city. Without giving away her age, she told me recently she has lived in Decatur for 57 years so has seen a lot of struggle and change. She is one of the most gracious people you could meet and remains very active in community affairs.
For a really good website on all aspects of Decatur, go to
When we moved to Decatur (over 30 years ago), it had one decent restaurant. Now it has become something of a destination for the whole metro area for dining. We have about 90 eating places now, some mediocre and pedestrian (McDonald's, Starbucks) but some really great places.
Recently the plaza beside the square has been redone. The photo is of the redone plaza where the above statue is located. At first I was unsure of the art deco look, but the more I see it, the better I like it.
This charming old courthouse anchors the square. It is no longer used as a courthouse, but the marble lined courtroom makes a great place for rececptions, etc. During the 1996 Olympic Games, it featured a lovely wooden Irish Bar compliments of Guiness as it was the social home to the Irish athletes and their retinue who were hosted by Decatur which then proclaimed itself Hometown to the World (we are not lacking in civic pride). The obelisk in the photo is a reminder of the past. It is a monument to the honor of the Confederate Soldiers who died in the Civil War. This square was actually the site of one of the skirmishes in the Battle of Atlanta. The building now houses the DeKalb (thats our county) Historical Society and a small museum.
I obviously love my hometown as it is in essence a small town in the midst of a large city. We can take advantage of the cultural and entertainment offerings of Atlanta and yet live in a town where there are distinctive and close neighborhoods and where we know most of the City and school officials on a first name basis.
- Pros:Great old neighborhoods, excellent schools, wonderful shops & restaurants
- Cons:Can get too popular on holidays
- In a nutshell:A small town in the city
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