The M.A.K. Local Historic District
Named for the three main streets it encompasses (McDonough, Adams and Kings Highway), the MAK Local Historic District includes ten city blocks of varying sizes and is Decatur's first locally designated historic district. The neighborhood was Decatur's first residential subdivision, developed by John Mason and Poleman Weekes who purchased the property in 1907. Local architect Leila Ross Wilburn designed many of the homes for Mason and Weekes.
The MAK neighborhood retains many of the Wilburn-designed homes and offers excellent examples of the Craftsman style homes that were popular during the first three decades of the 20th century. The neighborhood sought listing as Decatur's first local historic district in order to establish design guidelines and a design review to protect its unique character.
Clairemont Avenue Historic District
In 2001, following a petition by neighborhood homeowners, the Decatur City Commission created the second local historic district in Decatur, the Clairemont Historic District. This district runs the length of Clairemont Avenue from Commerce Drive and Hunter Street in the south to Maediris Drive in the north. A set of design guidelines governs exterior changes to properties located within the district. Any change must be approved by the City's Historic Preservation Commission.
Ponce de Leon Court Historic District
The Ponce de Leon Court Historic District consists of a single cul-de-sac located immediately east of downtown Decatur, Georgia. The street is accessed off of East Ponce de Leon Avenue, and is a particularly unusual and unique place in Decatur. Developed by John L. Womack in the mid-1920s, the houses are all designed in the craftsman bungalow style with elements of Spanish/eclectic or mission styling. The cul-de-sac ends in a palm circle and a balconied apartment house evoking West Indian or Floridian environs.
Of the houses on Ponce de Leon Court, the common material throughout for exterior walls and foundations is brick. Off-center or side corner porches are common, with arched entries and false balconies. The landscaping of the street and the general layout differ from the norm in Decatur. Palm trees and long needle pines give the street a tropical look. Banana trees were planted originally, but have since died. The street has few mature hardwoods or fruit bearing trees. The setbacks are uncommonly shallow, only ten to fifteen feet, and the houses are closer together than they are elsewhere in Decatur. The lots are both narrow and shallow.
Ponce de Leon Court was designated as a local historic district by the city of Decatur, and was listed in the Georgia Register of Historic Places in 2010, but it is not on the National Register of Historic Places. The Womack family still owned property on the court when it was designated a historic district.
Old Decatur Local Historic District
The Old Decatur Historic District is a pedestrian friendly, residential and commercial neighborhood and the oldest neighborhood within the city of Decatur. It lies along Sycamore Street, Hillyer Place, Sycamore Place, Barry, Pate, and North Candler streets. These streets feature some houses that still retain their 19th century character. Many of the homes are high style varieties with much detailing, many ornate features, and pure stylistic components. Along Sycamore Street especially, there are many Queen Anne houses which are both highly styled and vernacular in their expression. There are also decorated vernacular Victorians, gabled ells, a double pen house, craftsman bungalows, American foursquares, and a late neoclassical revival. The district is nominated for national register designation.
For more detailed information on Decatur's local historic districts, please see the Resources page.
Agnes Lee Chapter House
United Daughters of the Confederacy
120 Avery St.
215 Church St.
Cora Beck Hampton Schoolhouse and Home
213 Hillyer Pl.
A walk through this woodsy, park-like retreat is a stroll through history. Markers of early pioneer settlers are often rough, lichen-covered stones. Later Victorian style markers tend to be ornate with sentimental epitaphs. The oldest part of the cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery's unique well house was built in 1881. Work is currently under way to document gravesites in the cemetery's old African-American section.
Walking Tour Brochure
309 Sycamore St.
The first two-story house in Decatur is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. According to legend, General Sherman stopped here during the Civil War.
513 Drexel Avenue
Old DeKalb County Courthouse
101 E. Court Square
In 1823, the site for the public square was chosen at a point where two Indian trails met. The present courthouse is the fifth built on this site. Constructed in 1898, the building suffered extensive fire damage in 1917 and was rebuilt utilizing the granite walls and great columns of the original structure. It now serves as an event space and the home of the DeKalb History Center.
Mary Gay House
716 W. Trinity Pl.
Pythagoras Masonic Temple
108 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
The Pythagoras Masonic Lodge building, built in 1924, was designed by noted architect William Sayward, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children
321 W. Hill St.
South Candler Street/Agnes Scott College Historic District
Roughly bounded by E. College, S. McDonough, S. Candler, E. Hill and E. Davis streets.
720 Swanton Way
US Post Office
141 E. Trinity Place
Roughly bounded by E. College Ave., Avery St., S. Columbia Dr., and Mimosa Dr.
Local Historic Sites
Agnes Scott College
Established in 1889 as Decatur Female Academy, Agnes Scott College was the first school in Georgia to be fully accredited (1907) and is acclaimed for its high academic standards. The campus covers eight blocks and encompasses many residential properties and the Bradley Observatory, which is open to the public the second Friday of each month.
Columbia Theological Seminary
701 Columbia Dr.
Columbia Theological Seminary, an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), prepares women and men for leadership in ordained and lay ministries through degree programs and lifelong learning opportunities. Its beautiful 52-acre campus anchors the southeastern quadrant of the city.
Decatur City Hall
509 N. McDonough St.
Built in the Neo-classical Revival style, by architect William Sayward. Originally used as the city library, city hall and city jail all in one, the building is now used for administration.
Decatur Railroad Depot
301 E. Howard St.
Built in 1891, the depot was a busy, important part of the life of early Decatur. Fully restored, it is now a popular commercial restaurant space.
Corner of Church St. and Bell St.
This two-roof tenement structure dates to 1870. It is framed with heavy timber, using mortise-and-tenon joinery. The Decatur Preservation Alliance moved the building to Bell Street from its original site on Clairemont Avenue.
Historic Sycamore Street
Originally called Covington Road, this was once a stagecoach route to Augusta through Covington, Madison and Eatonton. It is characterized by its fine houses - some of the largest in Decatur.
Historic House Complex
716 and 720 W. Trinity Place
Two significant Decatur structures and two log cabin homes are located at this site. The Mary Gay House, operated by the DeKalb Junior League, is named for Mary Gay, author of Life in Dixie During the War. Some of her anecdotes later inspired scenes in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Mark Twain referred to Mary Gay in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, in which some of her poetry is quoted. The Swanton House was home to Ami Williams, one of DeKalb's earliest settlers. It is now operated as a museum by the DeKalb History Center.
The Methodist Chapel
Corner of Sycamore St. and Commerce Dr.
This chapel built with Stone Mountain granite occupies the same property as the original log church, founded in 1826, and known today as Decatur First United Methodist Church.
One of the oldest parts of the city, this area was the City of Oakhurst before it was annexed by the City of Decatur in the 1920s. It features many examples of bungalow-style residential structures, has a small commercial center and is the location of the old Scottish Rite Hospital, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places.
368 W. Ponce de Leon Ave
Located in a distinctive art deco building, Sharian is one of Decatur's oldest businesses. Since 1931, Sharian has been a premier retailer of fine oriental rugs, offering antique, semi-antique and new rugs. With decades of knowledge they also provide professional cleaning, restoration and appraisals. Sharian's showroom is worth a visit.
Called "the road to the depot" in Caroline McKinney Clarke's The Story of Decatur, 1823-1899, it has some of the loveliest Victorian homes remaining in Decatur. The South Candler Street neighborhood and the campus of Agnes Scott College were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, becoming Decatur's first official historic district.