Tag Archives: Decatur Alabama



The tornado outbreak, April 27, 2011, damaged many areas in Alabama. You can still see trees cut off midway, homes without a roof and many buildings in ruin. Amongst all that, lay a historic cemetery in the town of Trinity, here in north Alabama.

Minor cemetery, is a 177 year old family cemetery that was purchased by WIlliam Tompkins Minor in 1839. A descendant of Minor ( Wrenn )  states that she would visit the cemetery every year, and was distraught to see the damage following the tornadoes.The cemetery, which has 18 tombstones, dates to 1835 and stayed in Wrenn’s family until 1918. Nucor purchased the property from the bankrupt Trico Steel Co. in 2002.

Coutesy of Decatur Daily

Nucor spent $20,000 of its general funds money to restore the cemetery, build fencing and install landscaping around the cemetery. Minor family cemetery is listed on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. 

Related links

Nucor restores ruined graveyard – The Decatur Daily – Decatur, Alabama.





GTO The Judge

GTO The Judge

I didn’t even know there was an antique car show today. We had gone to the farmer’s market in downtown Decatur. Which was having their corn festival. Unfortunately, it has been so dry, the corn was not local. This did not stop my husband from chomping on an ear. On our way home, we passed several antique cars, that seemed to be going in the direction of Point Mallard. Once we got home, I checked the Decatur website, and , sure enough….Antique Car Show! We have been going to Third Friday in downtown Decatur, which features mainly local cars. A nice thing to do on a Friday night.

From Third Friday Decatur

I was going walking anyway, so I made my way in the direction of the cars. That is, in the direction of all the card entering Point Mallard park. It was quite busy! The park has quite a few events throughout the year. This was one event that I did not know was coming. Good thing I caught it! It was a free event for spectators, and a $25.00 registration fee. Quite a few really cool cars. I will remember this one for next year. Here is a link to the North Alabama Car Show events.

Apparently, I like red cars! Who doesn’t. It makes the car go faster!!!!

The Metropolitan, first American Sub Compact car



Built in 1829, by Colonel Francis Dancy. The home later passed to his granddaughter Lavinia Dancy-Polk. she used it as a boarding house after her husband, Dr. Thomas Polk passed away.

This home was one of four structures that were left standing after the Battle of Decatur in October 1864 during the Civil War. The home survived the ravages of the battle including occupation by Union troops and a cannonball strike to the front porch column relatively unscathed. The clapboard, brick structure remains in its original state today. More than 75% of the walls remain the original lathe and plaster. All original picture rail, chair rail and baseboards remain.The home has changed hands several times over the 180 year period. There was an extensive renovation that took place in 1972 and authentically decorated.

When I was by last week, there were permits posted, which made me believe, once again, there may be another restoration underway.

Notable visitors to the home include General Joe Wheeler, James Garfield, Generals Dodge and Doolittle and the notorious Frank James who boarded at the home prior to his surrender.


Dancy-Polk house

Dancy House 1829, Morgan County Archives





Decatur Train Depot Restoration Project

The Decatur Daily has a story today about the Depot

City train depot restoration will cost more than $900K – The Decatur Daily – Decatur, Alabama.

I just posted some pics of the train depot the other day. I found it interesting there is a plan for a restoration in the works. It would be awesome if this truly could happen. So much still needs to be done in downtown Decatur. Many comments on this story were negative, feeling as if the city would not maintain the structure once it is restored. Others, feels it is necessary to revive a historical part of the city. I am on the latter side.

City train depot restoration will cost more than $900K
By Tiffeny Owens

City leaders’ plan to bring the aging former L&N Railroad Depot in Northwest Decatur back to its former glory will take more money than the $900,000 awarded through a state grant.

Work on the 112-year-old structure at Railroad and Vine streets Northwest must begin by Jan. 17 or the city could lose the $720,000 the Alabama Department of Transportation gave Decatur in 2009.

The grant requires a $180,000 local match, and the city and Downtown Redevelopment Authority have agreed to put up $90,000 each.

Officials are confident they can make the deadline once they get an estimate of the project’s cost from an outside firm, said Wally Terry, economic and community development director.

Preliminary estimates for the renovation range from $1.2 million to $1.5 million. DDRA Executive Director Rick Paler said the project is so important, his agency would be willing to pay more to make sure it’s done right.

Public and private support could be sought to pay for costs not covered by the ALDOT grant, Terry said.

“It’s such an iconic, one-of-a-kind building with so much history attached to it, it warrants that we do everything we can to take it to the next level and preserve it as stewards of our culture and history,” Paler said.

In the past three years, the city’s plan to convert the structure into a transportation museum has undergone three revisions. Officials are now considering moving three Decatur police divisions — currently cramped at their City Hall offices — into two-thirds of the 5,000-square-foot building and using the rest for the museum.

The goal is to make the depot look as it did when it was in use in the early 1900s, complete with its original windows and wood, said Decatur architect Fred Underwood, who helped design the project.

“We plan to tear down the ceiling that’s there now to reveal its original ceiling and install cupolas with spires like it used to have,” Underwood said.

Officials hope giving the depot a new use will help connect the city’s historic downtown shopping to the Northwest area.

Having Decatur police’s traffic, investigations and school resource officers units headquartered inside permanently also could give added security to the precious artifacts stored in the museum area, Paler said.

But before any work can begin, the city has to purchase the property from its current owner, Decatur resident Wally Inscho.

Negotiations between Paler and Inscho are ongoing. Inscho wants $180,000 for the depot, but its last appraisal showed its value at $110,000, Paler said.

“We’re at a point, once we can buy it and clean it up, then the clock can start on the renovations,” Terry said.

The cleanup consists of removing lead-based paint from the building and safely disposing of it.

The ALDOT grant will not cover the expense, so the city will have to find money elsewhere.

“That’s why we want to get an independent firm’s estimate on the property, so the City Council can decide how they want to proceed,” Terry said.

A Nashville firm that specializes in detailed cost estimates for proposed projects could be tapped, said Blake McAnally, president of Decatur engineering firm Pugh Wright McAnally.

Terry said he hoped to get the council a resolution to hire the outside firm for its July 2 meeting.

“We don’t want overruns on this,” he said. “We want to do it right and keep it on budget.”




above photo by Allyson P.

This is not the original Decatur train depot. This was built later in the Spanish style architecture. The earlier one sat closer to the Tennessee river.

June 12, 1832: Alabama’s first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia. The railway was the first phase of a planned railroad to Decatur, forty-three miles to the east. That railroad was needed in order for river traffic to avoid the dangerous and often unnavigable Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River.

Historic Marker

Seeking a means to ship cotton and other goods around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River, area planters and merchants met at Courtland in 1831 to consider a rail line. On January 13, 1832, the 50-mile long Tuscumbia, Courtland & Decatur railroad was chartered. Early trains were usually horse-drawn, although an English-made steam locomotive was acquired in 1834. Absorbed by the Memphis & Charleston line after 1850, the railway was largely destroyed during the Civil War. The rebuilt railroad became part of the Southern system in 1898.


On Sunday, Patrick and I were driving around Decatur near the new Ingalls Harbour Pavillion. Which is really nice by the way. We saw an odd structure at the back of the lot. Now, Decatur has a lot of historical markers, but, this had nothing. Something as cool as this structure deserves a sign of some description, history etc. It took a lot of research to determine what it was. The Morgan county or Decatur websites had no information. It was a photo on Flickr that described it.

Beehive Brick Kiln

As we were driving, we discovered the Burleson home. It is a beautiful Greek Revival set on the Tennessee river west of Decatur.

Burleson house ( photo by Tim Carr )

The Rhea-McEntire House ( Burleson house )  is a historic antebellum Greek Revival mansion located along the shoreline of the Tennessee River in Decatu Alabama.

The house was constructed prior to 1836, and was used as headquarters by both Union and Confederate forces, alternately, during the Civil War.

In 1862, before being occupied by Federal forces, the plans for the Battle of Shiloh were laid out within this building. Because of this, the house was spared when the city was burned, leaving only 2 other buildings standing in the city.

The house was also used as the first temporary courthouse, during the construction of the first permanent courthouse in Somerville, in Cotaco County which is now Morgan County.





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