Old State Bank
The Old State Bank remains at its original site from when it first opened in 1833. The two story structure sports Federal Empire period architecture, which was popular in the 1830s. Unique features of the Old State Bank include a first floor banking lobby complete with its original walk-in vault and a replica of its teller’s cage. The second floor apartment area is furnished with antiques from the 1830’s, and gives a glimpse into life in the early Tennessee Valley. The Old Bank is located in the quaint Bank Street shopping district, serves as the boundary for the historic Old Decatur residential neighborhood, and is easily accessible to the Decatur Riverwalk. The Old Bank is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Through more than 178 years of often turbulent history, the Old State Bank has survived as a proud monument to Decatur’s past and the development of banking in Alabama. Built in 1833 to house the Tennessee Valley branch of the state bank, the bank was chartered as the Branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama at Decatur, and is now known by its common name as the “Old Bank.”
After the bank failed in 1845, the building saw diverse use. During the Civil War, the Old Bank served as a Union army hospital, and is one of only a handful of buildings to survive the town’s destruction during the war. From 1881-1902, the First National bank of Decatur occupied the space and helped to finance the town’s regrowth in the aftermath of the war. In the twentieth century, the bank was used as a boardinghouse where a quarter could buy a meal and a bed. In the 1930s, the building was renovated as WPA project as a civic meeting space. The building was later donated to and used by the American Legion. In the 1960’s, Decatur began to grow away from the traditional heart of the downtown, and the Old Bank entered a period of decline. Concerned citizens voiced the need to preserve the structure, and in 1976, the American Legion donated the building to the City of Decatur.
Time Period Represented
Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Open year round