Discovering Decatur, Texas

Decatur is just 60 miles, or just a one hour drive from Garland. When a friend told us he was going to invest in the downtown of this small Texas town, we decided to see what had attracted him. Decatur is the Wise County seat, with a population of just 6,800 citizens. 

As we headed into the downtown area, our expectations were not great, so we were awed as we turned onto Trinity Street. Looming before us was the most impressive courthouse we had ever seen. To my eyes it resembles something out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The Wise County Courthouse is based on the cruciform plan and the Romanesque Revival architectural style. That courthouse has more architectural curves than the law should allow! We were told its tower can be seen throughout Wise County as it was constructed on its highest point. Whether you find it beautiful or ridiculous, it’s definitely something you have to see for yourself. No written description or photograph can possibly do it justice. 

In speaking with small business owners surrounding the courthouse square, we found that the edifice is the pride of the town, as it should be. The historic downtown area has a lot of charm, and we enjoyed a good lunch at Rooster’s Roadhouse as we gathered information on this quaint little town. 

Shopping was fun, and we chatted with the owners of the antique store and a boutique with the fascinating name of “Cowgirl Crap”. Lots of civic pride laced with good humor with a degree of unexpected sophistication. We took note of the fact that no face masks were being worn by anyone in the downtown area during this pandemic. When I questioned one of the shop owners about this, I was told that they had had no cases of Covid-19 reported, other than one over in the jail. 

As we drove out of town the sun was setting on the courthouse. It was glowing, with its tower and all the turrets and curves, like a precious gem showing off its setting. We’ll be back to learn more about this charming town. 

Nancy Ghirla