The City of Decatur [†], founded in 1836 by Samuel Rugg, is located in Root and Washington Townships in Adams County. The city functions as the county seat of Adams County and is named after Stephen Decatur, Jr., an American naval officer who served in the Barbary Wars and in the War of 1812.
Central to Decatur's development has been its significant agricultural heritage and diverse business sector. This legacy gives the City a hometown feel and provides the residents with a great place to call home. True to its nature, the City is host to many celebrations and traditions such as the Motorcycle Festival, Christmas Open House, and the annual Callithumpian Parade.
The residents not only join together in times of celebration, they also unite in times of hardship. Through fire and flood, its residents have had to repeatedly demonstrate their resilience and tenacity. In 1881 one of the most disastrous fires ever to befall the City destroyed the entire business block of Second Street, from Monroe to Madison, causing forty-thousand dollars (1881 dollar value) in damage.
Although the fire in 1881 gave the City cause for its characteristic brick facade of today, it is the many floods that have truly left their mark. The Great Flood of 2003, in particular, will be remembered for years to come.
The disaster began on the Friday following Independence Day, 2003. That holiday weekend should have been filled with fireworks, fun, and family picnics. Unfortunately, that Friday saw the beginning of a storm system that would eventually dump a total of 7.67 inches in just four days. The water finally crested at 26.92 feet, just below the bottom of the Wendell Macklin Memorial Bridge. The St. Mary's River surpassed its flood stage by nearly 10 feet breaking the previous record set during the flood of 1913.
Local residents, the Amish community, the National Guard, and many government agencies were on hand to help out in many different capacities. The Red Cross declared a total of 227 homes damaged and 6 completely destroyed. The map at the left shows the approximate limits affected by the flood.
The public's response to such events demonstrates the outstanding character of the residents and the community and sets Decatur apart as a truly wonderful place in which to live and work.
Decatur is close to the Ohio state border. It is approximately twenty miles southeast of Fort Wayne and is linked to it by both US Highway 27 and the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad.
Decatur is also a junction for other major roads such as US Highway 224 and US Highway 33. These routes provide easy access to I-69 to the west and Van Wert, Ohio and I-75 to the east. It is the largest city in Adams County and serves as its county seat. Decatur is the northernmost incorporated community in the county with Monroe, Berne, and Geneva located farther south along US Highway 27, respectively.
Although no railroad lines extend through the City, Decatur does have a rail spur that connects it to Fort Wayne's extensive rail network. Currently, the bridge north of town is weight restricted and only partially loaded cars are allowed to pass. By the end of July, 2010, however, that bridge will be upgraded to permit full capacity loads thus increasing the City's marketable assets.
Local rivers and streams also further the regional network. The St. Marys River, in particular, provides another direct link to Fort Wayne and surrounding areas.
† City of Decatur Indiana, Comprehensive Plan of 2010, www.decaturin.org, accessed August, 2022.