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Wise County TX
Wise County

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DECATUR, TEXAS

"Eighter from Decatur, County Seat of Wise"
- gambling epithet

Wise County Seat, Central Texas North

3313'40"N 9735'24"W (33.227633, -97.589871)

Highways 287 and 380
27 miles SE of Bowie
27 miles W of Denton
25 miles NW of Fort Worth
45 miles NW of Dallas
Population: 6,989 Est. (2018)
6,042 (2010) 5,201 (2000) 4,245 (1990)

Book Hotel HereDecatur Hotels
Decatur, TX main street
Decatur main street & courthouse square
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

History in a Pecan Shell

Wise County was established in 1856 and named after Virginian Henry A. Wise who supported Texas annexation.

The town was originally called Taylorsville after The Mexican War Hero Gen. Zachary Taylor, but was changed in 1858 to honor Stephen Decatur, Revolutionary War naval hero. The town was platted by early settler Absalom Bishop who became a member of the Texas Legislature.

A post office was opened in 1857 and the first school was opened that same year. Decatur was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail.

During the Civil War, 5 members of the Unionist Peace party were tried and executed in Decatur in 1862.

The last Indian raids occurred around 1874 and by 1882 the Fort Worth and Denver Railway laid tracks to town. The population tripled from 579 in 1880 to 1,746 in 1890.

Decatur's population high-water mark was in 1928 when 3,200 lived there, but commuters from Fort Worth have recently boosted the growth to where it now stands at over 6,000.
Courthouse tower and Coca Cola sign Wise County Courthouse Tower and the Coca-Cola sign
TE Photo, 2004

Decatur, Texas
Landmarks/Attractions

Decatur Texas - Wise County Courthouse 1940 old  photo
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Wise County Courthouse
National Register of Historic Places
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

by Sam Fenstermacher
  • Wise County Courthouse
    The first county courthouse was erected in 1858 and three more followed in 1861, 1883 and 1896... more

  • Wise County Jail - The historic Old Stone Prison

  • The Texas Tourist Camp & Petrified Wood Gas Station
    ("Rooms with a Past" series) by Robin Jett

  • Decatur Post Office Mural - "Texas Plains"

  • Wise County Heritage Museum
  • Decatur TX - Wise County Heritage Museum
    Wise County Heritage Museum
    (Former Decatur Baptist College Administration Building)
    1602 S. Trinity St.
    National Register of Historic Places

    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Wise County Heritage Museum
    Another view of the Wise County Heritage Museum
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Decatur Baptist College plaque
    Decatur Baptist College plaque
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Decatur Baptist College sign
    Decatur Baptist College
    World's Oldest Junior College

    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX WPA mural - Texas Plains
    Photo courtesy Mike Price , August 2009
    Decatur Post Office Mural
    "Texas Plains"

    1939
    Muralist - Ray Strong
    Decatur TX - Post Office
    Decatur Post Office, TX 76234
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Post Office corner stone
    Decatur Post Office
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    More Texas Post Office | Texas Cornerstones
    Decatur TX - Episcopal Mission Of Ascension
    Episcopal Mission of the Ascension
    S. Church and Hale St.
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Historical Marker:

    Episcopal Mission of the Ascension

    Oldest original church building in Decatur. Consecrated by great missionary bishop, the Rt. Rev. A. C. Garrett. Erected facing Main Street (2 blks. W. of square) in 1889.

    Known as "The Little Church with the Crosses", by 1912 it had deteriorated, but was restored and moved, facing Walnut Street.

    In 1940 building was sold, used as mattress factory, but rescued same year and moved here, with sanctuary placed symbolically to east, toward Jerusalem.
    1968
    Decatur TX - Episcopal Mission Of Ascension Historical Marker
    Episcopal Mission of the Ascension Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX Church
    Church
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX Church
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    More Texas Churches
    Decatur TX - First National Bank Building
    First National Bank Building
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    More Texas Banks
    Decatur water tower and masonic building
    Decatur Masonic Building and Water Tower

    On the northwest corner of the square. This is one of two water towers that're set behind the Masonic Building. - SF

    Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, 2004
    Decatur TX - Masonic Lodge
    Decatur Masonic Lodge
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    More Texas Lodges
    Decatur TX - McMurray-Gettys Bldg
    McMurray-Gettys Building
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Texas Tourist Camp Petrified Wood cabins with garages
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    The Texas Tourist Camp
    & Petrified Wood Gas Station

    by Robin Jett
    Decatur TX - Former Waggoner Mansion
    Former Waggoner Mansion
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Former Waggoner Mansion
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Former Waggoner Mansion
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Former Waggoner Mansion
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Decatur TX - Coca-Cola wall sign
    Coca-Cola wall sign
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2002
    More Coca-Cola
    Decatur TX - Dr Pepper ghost sign
    Dr Pepper ghost sign
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2002
    More Texas Ghost Signs
    Decatur TX - Old gas station
    Old gas station
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007

    Decatur, Texas
    Old Photos

    Decatur TX - Depot 1913
    Decatur Depot
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    More Texas Depots
    Decatur, TX - Rogers Hospital
    Rogers Hospital
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    Decatur, TX Highway Sign
    Eighter from Decatur
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

    Growing up in Decatur in the 1930s
    Excerpts from
    "I Was a Teen in the 1930s and Some More Stuff" by Harold Bell

  • Miss Bell
    Nobody in the world, dead or alive, knew how long Miss Bell taught the fourth grade in and around Decatur, Texas...

  • The Sheriff
    "You never know when somebody says something, or does something, that it may have a big effect on you the rest of your life."

  • The Tight-Wire Walker
    "She's very daring. They put her wire up to the very tiptop of the tent thirty-five feet above the ground, and she does exciting maneuvers without using a net."

  • My Date with Mary
    Mary was the cause of the most exciting week of my young life.

  • Recommended Books on Decatur, Texas
    Two excellent books of stories of growing up in Wise County during the first half of the 20th century are:

  • I Was A Teen in the 1930s by Harold Bell, 2002 - book review
    Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned by Listening to Old Men On My Paper Route in Decatur, Texas
    or
    What They Didn't Tell Me Was Supplemented By Selling Magazine Subscriptions Around the Southern United States During the Great Depression.

  • Joe B. Frantz on Small Towns
    From the Foreword to Eighter from Decaur: Growing Up in North Texas
    by Jim Tom Barton, Texas A&M University Press, 1980

  • Nearby Destinations

  • Wise County Towns

  • Lake Bridgeport -
    Off US Highway 380 west of Decatur. On the West Fork Trinity River in Jack and Wise counties.

  • Decatur Tourist Information
  • Decatur Chamber of Commerce - (940) 627-3107
    P.O. Box 474, 1200-C S. FM 51, Decatur, Texas 76234
    http://www.decaturtx.com/
  • City of Decatur - http://www.decaturtx.org/

    Book Hotel Here > Decatur Hotels
  • Decatur TX - Wise County Chisholm Trail plaque
    Going Up the Texas Chisholm Trail
    1867
    (In front of the Wise County Courthouse)

    Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
    Take a road trip

    Decatur, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Bowie | Denton | Fort Worth

    See Wise County

    Central Texas North

    Book Hotel Here:
    Decatur Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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