Help us restore
the Decatur Depot
Decatur, Georgia, was founded in 1823. Not many years later, Decatur was offered the opportunity to be the western terminus of the Georgia Railroad, then being built east to Augusta. The City fathers declined, saying that it would bring too much congestion, and so the end of line was extended to a junction six miles farther west, called, appropriately enough, "Terminus". Terminus later became Marthasville, then Atlanta, and it still has the congestion.
Constructed in 1891 for the Georgia Railroad, Decatur's depot was designed E. G. Lind, a prominent architect who is best known in Atlanta for designing the Central Presbyterian Church across from the State Capitol. Built on the site of an earlier depot for at a cost of $3000, the building has been in almost continuous use for over 100 years. It serves as a good example of a small town combination depot.
The depot was the center of Decatur's economy at the turn of the century and through the 1930's. One train, know years ago as the "Accommodation Train" was used by Decatur businessmen commuting to Atlanta. The railroad also served as a major carrier of Agnes Scott College students and president-elect William Howard Taft made a stopover in Decatur en route by train to Aiken, S.C. on January 16, 1909.
As trains gave way to automobiles, the need for passenger trains diminished and ultimately disappeared. Then in 1981, the freight area opened as a restaurant and by the late 1980's, the "Freight Room" was a popular music club. Much to the dismay of many' local music fans, the club was forced to close its doors in early January of 1999 due to the deteriorating condition of the building.
The City, however, wished to save the depot and entered into negotiations with CSX to buy the property, making many concessions and guarantees in the process. CSX has now donated the property with the provision that the structure is moved 25 feet further from the tracks. An engineering study has concluded that this is feasible. The City applied for and was granted a Federal TEA-21 matching grant so that the building can be moved and stabilized while future plans are being formulated. On July 16, 2001, the Decatur City Commission officially accepted the deed from CSX Transportation.
A private group, the Decatur Preservation Alliance, working alongside the City of Decatur, has been formed to help preserve the heritage of Decatur, with the Depot as its first project. The City has also appointed a Task Force to discuss and solicit ways to develop the building to once again be the center of Decatur life and DPA is working with that body.
If you believe in the goals of the Decatur Preservation Alliance, you can help with this and future projects. Simply go to this page and print the membership form, then send your tax-deductible contribution. Thanks very much for your help !
Comments or questions may be directed to
P.O. Box 1764
Decatur, GA 30031
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The Decatur Preservation Alliance
is a 501c3 charitable organization.
Gifts are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law - see your tax advisor.
Copyright © 2001 Decatur Preservation Alliance, Inc.
Last updated July 29, 2001