Decatur is located on the banks of the Tennessee River. During the Civil War, it was a key transportation point, because both the Memphis and Charleston railroads crossed the Tennessee River in Decatur. Decatur also had a national road (US Highway 31) that went through the city.
The Confederates were determined to stop the Union Army from taking the city. They knew without Decatur it would be extremely difficult for the Union to get supplies, artillery, and reinforcements to their troops.
The Confederate Army fought fiercely for four days with General Hood in command. General Hood was confident that Decatur would not fall to the Union Army. He said, Decatur was a “hard nut to crack.” General Hood employed the use of mounted troops, gunboats, and a vast number of infantrymen.
General Robert Granger was in command of the Union troops, which included the 14th United States Colored Troops (USCT) led by Colonel Thomas Morgan. The USCT was able to drive back the Confederate troops and take control of the city.
Most of Decatur was destroyed during the war and only five buildings remained. Four of those buildings are still standing today: the Old State Bank, the Dancy-Polk House, the Todd House, and the McEntire Home.
Source: Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau
Prior to the desegregation of the Alabama school system, this building was a school for African-American children. Students from multiple counties would travel to this school, since there only a few available in North Alabama.
Researching the history of this school and the building was not easy. There is very little information about it on the internet and most of what I learned came from the local people.
The building is now being used as a storage facility and is not being maintained well.
That seems like such a waste to me. Here we have a building with great historical significance, just wasting away in obscurity.
If I could purchase the property, I would turn it into a civil rights museum. That seems to be a better way of honoring the history of this site.
Nick Davis was born 23 April 1781, in Virginia. He was a busy man during his life and managed to wear a wide variety of hats.
- He was a US Marshall.
- He was a Captain in the War of 1812.
- He owned several hundred acres of land in Limestone County, Alabama.
- He raced horses.
- He was admired by others as a country gentlemen.
- He was one of the framers of Alabama’s first constitution.
- He was president of the Alabama Senate.
Nick Davis died 29 September 1856 in Alabama. A major road running through Limestone and Madison Country is named after him. I can see why, Nick Davis had a lot going on and he was a busy man.
The Houston Memorial Library is located in Athens, Alabama. The house was owned by George Houston, a former governor of the state of Alabama. George Houston died in 1879, and the Houston family donated the property to the city of Athens, with the stipulation that it be used as a library/museum.
However, over the years the building deteriorated and the city failed to complete the required maintenance to keep the facility functional. In 2016, the city indefinitely closed the museum for renovations.
It breaks my heart to see this building in such a deplorable state. All those historical documents, old books, and antiques are locked inside the building. The building is full of items with educational and cultural value, but it’s all just rotting away.
If I won the lottery, I would buy that building and have it fully restored. I would open it back up for the public to use and have activities for children, so they can learn to appreciate the value of museums and libraries.