Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 6,042
2000 Census - 5,201
Decatur, Texas
Decatur Texas History:
When Wise County was established in 1856, a new county seat site was chosen within five miles of the geographic center of the new county. The new town of Taylorville, named after General Zachary Taylor, was platted by Absalom Bishop, an early settler to the area. The Taylorville post office was established in 1857 in Daniel Howell’s store. A school was established that same year. Bishop disapproved of Taylor’s politics, so in 1858 he succeeded in renaming the town Decatur after naval hero Stephen Decatur. In the 1860s, Decatur became a supply center for area farmers and ranchers. In the late 1860s after the Civil War, the town had a hotel and four stores, but saw little other growth until after the threat of Indian attacks in 1874. When the Fort Worth and Denver Railway began servicing the town in 1882, the town became a shipping center for area farmers and ranchers. A railroad worker is said to have created the popular town slogan “Eighter from Decatur.” The town has beautifully preserved petrified wood buildings. Decatur’s economy is based on petroleum products, clothing and glass manufacturing, tourism, and ranch and farm services. Decatur is located on the eastern edge of the LBJ National Grasslands at the intersections of U.S. 287/U.S. 81, U.S. 380, FM 51 and FM 730, 28 miles southeast of Bowie, 53 miles southwest of Gainesville, 34 miles southwest of Sanger and Lake Ray Roberts, 28 miles west of Denton, 36 miles northwest of Lake Dallas and Lewisville Lake, 34 miles northwest of Trophy Club and Grapevine Lake, 43.6 miles northwest of Fort Worth, 25 miles north of Azle and Eagle Mountain Lake, 36.6 miles northeast of Weatherford, 63 miles northeast of Mineral Wells, 18.6 miles northeast of Runaway Bay, 37 miles east of Jacksboro, 14 miles east of Lake Bridgeport, and 11 miles east of Bridgeport, Texas.
Wise County Veterans Park & Memorial:
This park is a joint venture between Wise County and the City of Decatur. The park is lined with brick pavers that may be purchased in memory of a loved one. 18 brass placards commemorate American sacrifices from the Revolutionary War to the present. An eternal flame is located in the center of the park. The park is located on the corner of E. Ash and N. Trinity Streets. (940) 393-0260. Email  
Wise County Courthouse, 1897:
The courthouse was designed in Romanesque Revival style by famed courthouse architect J. Riley Gordon of San Antonio. It was built of hand cut pink granite stone from Burnet County, and features an interior of Vermont marble. Other features include the original interior woodwork, interior iron staircases, and a No. 1 Hour Strike Tower Clock and a bell purchased from E. Howard & Company. The building is said to be architecturally perfect. The courthouse was built for $110,000. The town’s citizens thought the price was too high so in the next election they voted out of office the county officials who had authorized the building bonds. This courthouse is similar to the Ellis County Courthouse because Ellis County purchased the Wise County courthouse plans. Ellis County hired an architect to alter the plans to reduce costs. The Wise County courthouse is listed on listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historical Landmark. The 2010 Wise County census was 59,127. The courthouse is open weekdays. Guided tours are available by contacting the County Auditor at (940) 627-5744, or the County Judge at (940) 627-5743. 101 North Trinity Street, Decatur, Texas.
Wise County Jail “Old Stone Prison,” 1859:
The jail was the first stone house in Decatur. The jailor lived on the main floor and prisoners were housed in the basement. Meals were sent down via a dumb waiter. It was built using prison labor and served as a jail from 1859 to 1883. The building now houses the Decatur AA Group; it is not open to the public. 105 E. Pecan Street, approximately one block off the courthouse square.