Six miles east of Atlanta is the city of Decatur, the second oldest city in the metropolitan area. It's the DeKalb County seat, and it has a population of about 19,000 people.
Decatur probably could have been Atlanta, had it made a different decision about the railroad back in the 1840s. At that time, the Western and Atlantic Railroad wanted to add a stop in Decatur, but the townspeople opposed the idea because they didn't want the noise and the smoke besmirching the place. So the Western and Atlantic moved the site to a smaller settlement called Terminus, which eventually became Atlanta. Today, downtown Decatur does have a convenient MARTA station, though.
Many residents of Decatur work in the "Clifton Corridor," along which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Emory University and Emory University Hospital and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta extend.
Like Atlanta, Decatur is a city of many neighborhoods. Some of the most popular include Adair Park, Glennwood Estates, Great Lakes, Forrest Hills, Leafmore Hills, Lindmoor Woods, Medlock Park, Oakhurst, Oak Grove, Sagamore Hills, University Heights and Winnona Park. In a few words, here's what makes these neighborhoods so desirable:
Adair Park: Connects to Atlanta via Ponce de Leon Avenue, includes Decatur's main post office and diverse housing types, with numerous 1900s Craftsman bungalows
Forrest Hills: Made up of only five streets and 250 houses, with an active neighborhood association that plans lots of social events; good public schools and three private ones
Glennwood Estates: Walking distance to downtown Decatur, Glennwood Elementary School
Great Lakes: A five-minute commute to Emory or the CDC
Leafmore Hills: Less than three miles to the Clifton Corridor; swim and tennis club; and close to North Lake Mall, Toco Hills shopping center and downtown Decatur
Lindmoor Woods: Five minutes from downtown in unincorporated DeKalb, so no city of Decatur taxes
Medlock Park: Near Emory, the Shepherd Nature Center and Medlock Park and Recreation Center
Oak Grove: Large lots and good schools between LaVista and Briarcliff Roads, and easy access to I-285, downtown Decatur and the Clifton Corridor
Oakhurst: Hip and trendy, with good schools, festivals and events, Oakhurst Village and a dog park
Sagamore Hills: Three miles from Emory, the CDC and shopping centers
University Hills: Affordability close to Emory, CDC, Medlock Park and downtown Decatur, with top-rated Lakeside High School
Winnona Park: Near Agnes Scott College,sdjhgh with good schools, an active neighborhood association and historic housing districts
Housing options in Decatur's neighborhoods range from 100-year-old Craftsman bungalows to contemporary gated estates to mid-century ranches to Tudors to townhomes.
Decatur has a year-round schedule of interesting and fun events: the Decatur Arts Festival, the Decatur Beach Party, the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes, the Great Decatur Beer Tasting Festival, the Decatur Wine Tasting Tour, a lantern parade, a bonfire and marshmallow roast and a concert with fireworks for Independence Day. The annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and is held every Labor Day weekend. In September, Oakhurst hosts Jazz Nights â€“ outdoor concerts with picnicking. And Oakhurst is also the scene for the annual BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival.
At the Decatur Old House Fair, visitors can get their fill of ideas and advice on renovating, furnishing and maintaining older homes during a day of speakers and exhibits.
The City of Decatur schools are considered some of the best in the state. Notable are the Early Learning Childhood Center, Oakhurst Elementary, Clairemont Elementary, Glennwood Elementary, Winnona Park Elementary, Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School, an International Baccalaureate World School. Students at Decatur city schools perform above state and national levels on standardized tests, including the SAT.