The Texas Two Step is likely the most popular dance in the Lone Star State. But in another sense, it could well be what flavors the present and guides the future of North Texas’ shining star, the City of Decatur.
Decatur has kept one foot firmly planted in the richness of its heritage while constantly taking the next step toward the future. With an appreciation for the strength and tenacity of its founders, the city promotes restoration of landmarks while creating a climate to attract new business and industry.
Decatur is proud of its western heritage and celebrates that pride with an annual Chisholm Trail Days event. The western lifestyle is also celebrated with an annual rodeo and by playing host to the WC Challenger Charities JW Hart Professional Bull Riders Competition. Along with raising money for local charities, the Hart Challenge also features the awarding of mortgage-free homes to military veterans, taking a positive step in providing a future for veterans and their families.
Throughout the city are examples of projects that reflect Decatur’s rich past while looking to the future. The recently installed replica of an antique movie marquee on the historic square is a prime example. While the marquee is a testament to a glorious past, it serves as a present day beacon to promote events in the city. The restored post office just off the square is home to the Visitors Center, while behind the center is a pocket park with outdoor art and a mural, Project Bloom.
The restored Decatur Baptist College Administration Building represents Decatur’s strong educational roots and is home to the Wise County Heritage Museum. Just down the highway is the beautiful campus of Weatherford College Wise County, meeting the needs of today’s students. The Petrified Wood Gas Station, Cafe and Motor Court in the heart of Decatur have been restored to their 1945 glory and now welcome today’s hungry diners from around the county.
Tucked inside restored facades on the historic square are some of the finest office spaces you’ll find anywhere. You’ll be taken aback by the high-end decor and furnishings, forgetting for a moment you’re not in the “other” Big D! The square is lined with outstanding restaurants with varied and exciting offerings. Within walking distance of the square is a cafe where every item on the menu is made fresh and outdoor dining is available year ’round.
Shops around the square and elsewhere in the city offer a wide selection and value, without the long lines and parking meters.
Decatur’s crown jewel, the Wise County Courthouse, built of pink granite in 1896, welcomes visitors for many fun-filled events throughout the year. From the Glitzy Girls Trailer Park, to Cruise Nights on the Square, from the Chisholm Trail Days Western Heritage Festival to Paint the Town Pink and Decatur Swirl Wine and Food tasting, there is something for everyone in the shadow of the proud, ‘Pink Lady’.
Just outside the city, is the Decatur Municipal Airport, the state’s first airport, built in 1915. Today’s facility looks nothing like the original because it has been designed to meet the aviation needs of today, including a 4,200-foot runway. A little further north of the city is the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Grasslands, 20,250 acres of recreational opportunity for the public. Several lakes offer fishing, including one with a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. Camping, hiking, hunting, horseback riding and bird watching are also available. The area includes 75 miles of multipurpose trails.
Decatur is home to a regional healthcare facility, Wise Health System, which has been ranked in the top five nationally in patient satisfaction. The system participates in the Quality Improvements for Institutions of the American College of Cardiology and also boasts a dialysis center and cancer care center.
Construction is under way on a 72,000 square foot addition to the hospital, the FitN-Wise Rehabilitation and Performance Center, which will feature three swimming pools, saunas, a gymnasium, cafeteria, expanded workout and locker areas, in addition to an outdoor training area.
Decatur is also home to one of the largest auto swap meets in the nation, held every February at the Wise County Fairgrounds on the southern edge of the city. Area attractions include the Brushy Creek Vineyards in Alvord and 13,000-acre Lake Bridgeport offering a host of boating activities and prime fishing.