Decatur Business Signs
Decatur is located towards the central part of the northern portion of the current US state of Alabama. Prior to incursions by citizens of the United States, this area of the continent had been inhabited by Muscogee-speaking peoples. In fact, the Chickasaw settled in the region around 1300 A.D. However, at the dawn of the nineteenth century, the 1805 Treaty with the Chickasaws and the Cherokee Treaty of Washington of 1806 ceded native claims to this area to the United States Government.
Specifically, the area now known as Decatur was once known as “Rhodes Ferry Landing”, after Dr. Henry W. Rhodes, who in the 1810s operated a ferry, which crossed the Tennessee River at the present-day location of Rhodes Ferry Park. The city of Decatur was subsequently founded in 1820, and officially named in honor of Stephen Decatur, who had been killed in a duel earlier that same year. In fact, some claim President Monroe had a hand in the city’s naming. Decatur, Alabama was officially incorporated on December 8th, 1827.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2013 a 55,816 population for the present-day city of Decatur, Alabama. This makes it the 653th most populous city in the United States. According to that same 2013 report, Decatur’s metropolitan area has a total population of 153,374 people. This makes it the 263rd most populous metropolitan area in the country. Along with the neighboring city of Huntsville, Decatur makes up the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. This combined statistical area has a total population of 679,743 people.
Decatur, Alabama’s economy is heavily impacted by the presence of The Port of Decatur. In fact, “Decatur has grown to be the busiest river port on the Tennessee River.” Due to this influx of river driven commerce, the city has seen twenty Fortune 500 companies open plants in and around the area.
Hilariously, one of Decatur’s nicknames is “Home of Meow Mix” after the company Meow Mix installed a 200,000-square foot facility in the area. The cat food company now takes advantage of their riverfront property by shipping their goods up and down the Tennessee River. The largest employer in the city of Decatur, Alabama, however, is General Electric, responsible for 1,250 jobs.
Decatur, Alabama also holds the honor of being the home for one of the major plants for the United Launch Alliance, which is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. This essentially means “all satellite launching rockets used by the U.S. government will be built in Decatur.” The ULA takes advantage of the nearby Tennessee River and ships the rockets through there to Cape Canaveral.
There are no professional sports franchises of note in Decatur, Alabama. The city does, however, host a few interesting annual events. The Alabama Jubilee, which kicked off in 1978, “is the oldest hot air balloon race south of the Kentucky Derby’s Great Balloon Race.” The Alabama Jubilee, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend at Point Mallard Park, consists of about 60 local and national hot-air balloons and attracts approximately 100,000 people to the area. Due to the popularity of this Alabama Jubilee event, the Alabama State Legislature has named Decatur “The Ballooning Capital of Alabama.” Decatur, Alabama also hosts the Spirit of America Festival, “one of the largest free 4th of July festivals in the south.” This festival attracts more than 65,000 people to the area.
Own a small business in the Decatur, Alabama area? Thinking about it? These resources could prove beneficial to you:
Apply for a Business License in Decatur, Alabama:
Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center:
Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce:
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Fort Payne, AL
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