December 2nd 2020

Close to Home: Decatur, GA

Traveler: Colleen O’Keeffe
Destination: Decatur, Georgia

The current state of the world has us traveling locally and appreciating areas closer to home. Here, Colleen O’Keeffe shows us the history and small-town charm of Decatur, Georgia.

With people not traveling as much during 2020, it has been a great year to explore and appreciate the great places nearby.  I happen to live in a quaint and charming city called Decatur.  Located a few miles east of Atlanta, I’ve always been drawn to the historic downtown of Decatur, not only because of the architecture, but because it is a great place to gather, shop, dine, celebrate, and relax while listening to local music.

The focal point of the Decatur Square is the courthouse, originally constructed in 1898.  The current courthouse dates to 1917, but is actually the 5th one built on the site; several earlier buildings succumbed to fires. Today’s courthouse features ornate Corinthian columns and rusticated granite stone as seen below.

The Pythagoras Masonic Lodge building, built in 1924, was designed by noted architect William Sayward.  This is my favorite façade in downtown Decatur.  The light always hits it in a beautiful way and the Ionic columns and rusticated main level give the façade an added sense of depth.

This strip of commercial buildings was initially developed in the 1890s. The most coveted parking spot in town, it is within a few steps to Brickstore Pub, my favorite place to grab a beer, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (who can resist?).  It is amazing how these 125-year-old buildings have stood the test of time.

The Town Square elevated over the Decatur Marta Station, below, is the perfect place to listen to music and let kids run around, in pre-pandemic days, of course. I’m looking forward to the time when my family and I can enjoy this amazing civic space in its full vibrancy once again.

I love the character of the various brick commercial buildings dotting the square, and the way that the restaurants overflow into the alleyway, activating the space between the buildings and the Town Square.

I hope you enjoyed my virtual walkthrough of downtown Decatur. We’re all staying closer to home these days, so I encourage you to venture out safely and appreciate the beauty in your own backyard!