Decatur. 1 City (1990 pop. 48,761), seat of Morgan co., N Ala., on the Tennessee River; inc. 1826. It has shipyards, port traffic, and diverse industries, including steel manufacturing. The city has thrived on power supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority. A settlement there incorporated in 1820 as Rhodes Ferry was chartered in 1826 and renamed in honor of naval hero Stephen Decatur. During the Civil War, Decatur was continually raided by Union forces; two houses and the imposing state bank (1832) survive. The huge Browns Ferry nuclear power plant and a national wildlife refuge are nearby. The present city was formed (1927) by the union of Decatur and Albany (formerly New Decatur).
2 City (1990 pop. 17,336), seat of DeKalb co., NW Ga., a residential suburb of Atlanta; inc. 1823. Some light industry is there. The city was named for the U.S. war hero Stephen Decatur. Agnes Scott College and Columbia Theological Seminary are there. Carved on the side of nearby Stone Mountain, in a memorial park, are the figures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis (see Stone Mountain Memorial).
3 City (1990 pop. 83,885), seat of Macon co., central Ill., on the Sangamon River (dammed there to form Lake Decatur); inc. 1839. A railroad and industrial center in a fertile farm and livestock area, Decatur has railroad repair shops and huge plants for processing corn and soybeans. Other manufactures include transportation and mining equipment and machinery. Coal deposits underlie the area. Of interest are the Lincoln Log Cabin Courthouse, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law; Lincoln Square, where he received his first endorsement for the presidential nomination; and the city library, with its Lincoln collection. The site of Lincoln's first home in Illinois is in a state park nearby. The Grand Army of the Republic was organized in Decatur in Apr., 1866. Millikin Univ. is in the city.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.