Decatur and Albany Historic Districts of Decatur make up the largest concentration of Victorian era craftsmen and bungalow homes in Alabama. Often referred to as “The Painted Ladies,” some date to the early 1800s, while others were constructed around the turn of the century. Both are listed in the National Register of Historical Places. (A detailed tour map and brochure is available at the Decatur Visitor Center on 6th Ave.)
The Old Decatur Historic District embraces over 116-acres with houses ranging in age from 1829 to the present. Styles vary from the French-influenced Empire period to the Edwardian Cottage and beyond. Select sites in the district include:
The Dancy-Polk House, built in 1829 by town pioneer Col. Frank Dancy as his home, later became known as the Polk Hotel and was frequented by railroad travelers.
The J. T. Jones House, a superb example of Queen Anne design, was erected in 1899 by a cotton broker who also commissioned a New York artist to carve a marble mantel for the main parlor.
The McEntire House is one of the oldest buildings in Decatur. Constructed prior to 1836, the home was used by both Union and Confederate forces as headquarters during the Civil War. The Confederates planned the Battle of Shiloh within its walls.
The New Decatur Albany Historic District was founded by northern businessmen in the late 1800’s and was named after the New York state capital. It reflects early 20th century trends such as Colonial Revival, California Cottage, Dutch Colonial and Frank Lloyd Wright influences. Select sites in the district include:
St. John’s Episcopal Church, dedicated in 1893, replaced an earlier church in Old Decatur that burned in 1889. Originally facing north, the building was physically turned to face west in 1948.
The Chenault House was built in 1906 and is one of the finest examples in the district of the late Victorian house with both Queen Anne and Colonial Revival influences.
Christ’s Mission was built in 1898 by the Mission Organization of New York State of the Congregational Church. In 1901 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church bought the building and made it home for 67 years. In 1951, to increase the size of the sanctuary, this church building was also turned. In 1968, Christ’s Mission bought the building.
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