Decatur is the county seat of DeKalb County. Originally called Dawson's Camp, the historic city was founded in 1823 - before neighboring Atlanta. It boasts beautiful old homes in distinct neighborhoods each with its own story. Centered on the historic Decatur Courthouse, Decatur has become a hot destination for young people who want hip bars, spacious parks, great restaurants, community identity and walk-able neighborhoods, as well as for families who are drawn to the excellent independent school district. In addition to the single-family homes in the old neighborhoods surrounding the central business district, in recent years there have been several mid-rise condominium developments in the downtown area, bringing an extraordinary life and vitality to the downtown community.
While it may appear to be a typical southern city, Decatur marches to the beat of a different drummer. It declined to become a railroad transportation hub for the southeast in the 19th Century, resulting in the founding of Atlanta to its west. Both delegates from DeKalb County voted against secession in 1861. Decatur is one of the few parts of the sprawling Atlanta area that blends a small-town feel with an open-minded, freewheeling, artsy sensibility. Creative Loafing voted Decatur "Best Suburb" (critic's and reader's pick) in its 2007 ratings, although any self-respecting Decaturite would bristle at their city being labeled a "Suburb"!
Decatur is well-known for its cultural, ethnic, and lifestyle diversity. Founded by Scotch/Irish/English immigrants, the city remains majority Caucasian, but there is also a substantial African-American population, and a recent influx Ethiopian immigrants. North of the city is a Greek-American community, and northeast of the city is a thriving Indian community with very popular restaurants and retail outlets. Decatur hosts many yearly music, arts, and community festivals and is the home of the acclaimed Eddie's Attic music venue.