Thursday, March 11, 2010

Decatur City Hall

Decatur thrives while living cheek to cheek with Atlanta.

At Decatur's City Hall the ladies behind the counter know the city and they will get to know you too.

We did business once a month at City Hall. The clerks I dealt with were competent, experienced, and neighborly. They recognized me and knew I was just the errand boy for the brains of the family. Nostalgia for small town life isn't based on myth.

Decatur is the seat of Dekalb County. County buildings dominate downtown. But none are better than City Hall, built in 1926, designed by Edwards & Sayward in Classical Revival Style. The 2006 addition and renovation by architect Brian G. Randall is first class.

Next time you are in Decatur enjoying the Brick Store or Leon's Full Service, have a look.

I love these panels. This was a garage for police cars and firetrucks.

The Chic-fil-A view

Columns, doors, urns, windows - nice.

Here is the south gable of the orginal building. The view will be greened over in a month.

This is the new wing, 6000 square feet, stately and quiet.

The panels and arches repeat on the new wing.

I look at brick more carefully than I used to. The addition includes some darker brick which blend with the old but don't match. Notice that every 6th course is header-stretcher-header-stretcher. This is known as "Common Bond with 6th Course Flemish Headers." Masons have a name for everything. They've been doing this for long time.

You'd think they'd use the same bond for the whole building, but no. At this corner we find 3 different brick colors and 3 different brick bonds. The new building is to the right with "Common Bond with 6th Course Flemish Headers." The old building to the left uses "Common Bond with 6th Course Headers." The old garage projects towards us and features "Common Bond with 4th Course Headers." If I ever meet the architect I'll ask and report back to you.

The views from City Hall reveal a working town not an outdoor museum.

But if you look south-southeast over the Chick-fil-A, you'll see the tower of Agnes Scott's "Main" Hall built in 1891. Mrs. AT lived on the 4th floor her Senior Year. Here is the 4th floor plan. It is a truly special place. It wasn't air conditioned at the time and not air conditioned now - "wawm" as we say down here.


I've got some more pictures, if you have the time:


  1. That is just beautiful. Thanks for posting all those photos.

  2. wait, it's still not AC'd?!? they did the freshmen dorms a couple of years before I started at Samford...I can't imagine not having AC during the summer in Dixie!]

    Decatur City Hall is lovely, btw, especially the cupola.

  3. I checked the Agnes Scott website today, no AC. I think my JoAnn is still proud of making it through the heat. Main was the most prestigious dorm and quite a great building with wonderful parlors.

  4. Terry, you did a great job photographing this! I love the picture of the brick!

  5. all this time i've never been to city hall! i've seen the old one on ponce, but it never occurred to me that the new one was back there!

    i love that you show me things i sometimes miss here in this great city--thanks for sharing!

    ps--i went to spelman, and my freshman year i was in a dorm that also had no air conditioning--and this was 1997! it has since been renovated and turned into the admissions& registrars office, but i will NEVER forget those hot days all of my life. almost too much for this this fresh off the plane from california!

  6. Thanks for sending me the photo Terry! Sorry I missed you!


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