Founded as a small settlement in 1836, along the high banks of the St. Marys River, Decatur was named for the American naval hero, Stephen Decatur. The community was incorporated in 1853 and became the county seat of Adams County.
A road, formerly a Native American Indian and pioneer trail, was developed to connect the community with Ft. Wayne. From the beginning, Decatur proposed and attracted diverse business and industry. Fine schools were built, churches established and paved streets appeared – the first a plank road.
Decatur is a handsome, historic city with friendly Hoosier people. The pleasant mixture of newer homes, well-maintained older homes, tree lined streets, and gardens depicts the pride of ownership and a sense of community. The natural beauty of the St. Marys River is part of what makes Decatur a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Decatur hosts many attractions including the well-known annual Callithumpian activities in late October. Another attraction is Decatur's Sculpture Tour which displays a great number of sculptures throughout downtown Decatur.
A focal point for the community is the Victorian style Adams County courthouse built in 1873, the home for county government. Along the courthouse square are several monuments of note. One, the Peace Monument built in 1916 – known to be the first monument in the United States dedicated to peace. Another, is the 'elephant rock', a huge boulder brought from the St. Marys River in 1926 and placed in dedication to Gene Stratton Porter, author and environmentalist who had lived in Decatur prior to moving south in Adams County to the town of Geneva.
Decatur is home to North Adams Community Schools. Bellmont High School is a designated "early college."