Decatur’s Old State Bank celebrates 189th Anniversary on July 29

The historic Old State Bank in Decatur. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Decatur’s Old State Bank—the oldest bank building in Alabama—is turning 189 years old on Friday, July 29. In celebration, Decatur Parks and Recreation and Decatur Morgan County Tourism are teaming up to host a birthday bash for the building. Keep reading to learn more about the Old State Bank’s history and get all the details on the celebration.

About Decatur’s Old State Bank

Decatur Old State Bank
The Old State Bank as photographed in 1939 by Frances Benjamin Johnston. (Frances Benjamin Johnston / Library of Congress)

According to Decatur Parks & Recreation, the Old State Bank was built in 1833 to house the Bank of the State of Alabama. At the time, there were four locations of the Bank of the State of Alabama—Decatur, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, which hosted the main branch. Unfortunately, the financial Panic of 1837 helped cause the decline of the bank, and its banking charter was revoked by 1842.

During the Civil War, the building was used as a hospital for a Union Army, and was one of only four buildings in town that survived the Battle of Decatur.

Fun Fact: If you look closely, you can spot bullet holes and scratches on the brick walls and columns of the Old State Bank from the Civil War.

Old State Bank
Decatur’s Old State Bank. (Nathan Watson)

After the Civil War, the building saw multiple uses over the years, including:

  • Serving as the home for the First National Bank of Decatur from 1881 to 1902.
  • Being used as a boarding house during the early 20th century.
  • Being renovated as a civic meeting space by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal.
  • Hosting the American Legion.

In the 1970s, citizens raised concerns about the historic building’s future. Luckily, the American Legion donated the building to the City of Decatur. The Old State Bank was renovated into the historic museum we love today!

Celebrate the Old State Bank on July 29

Old State Bank
Wish Decatur’s Old State Bank a Happy Birthday on Friday! (Decatur Morgan County Tourism)

You’re invited to celebrate the birthday of the Old State Bank on Friday, July 29! Hosted by Decatur Parks and Recreation in partnership with Decatur Morgan County Tourism, the birthday celebration will include food trucks, pop-up shops, storytellers, activities for the kids and more.

Are you attending the Old State Bank’s 189th Birthday Celebration? Be sure to tag @thebamabuzz in all your photos!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.

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