Historical Marker Program
A County Older Than the State-Morgan County
Alabama Territorial Legislature created this county in 1818 from lands ceded by Cherokee Indians in 1816. County first named Cotaco, for large creek in county. Named Morgan County in 1821 for Maj. Gen. Daniel Morgan, Revolutionary hero, winner over British at Battle of Cowpens. County often invaded by both armies in War Between the States. Until 1891 county seat at Somerville. Then county seat moved to Decatur. Named for Stephen Decatur, naval hero against Tripoli pirates and in War of 1812.
[Before 1965: Courthouse, Decatur]
Cedar Plains Christian Church
Ceadar Plains Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was the first congregation in Alabama - 1837 - of the first denomination formed on American soil - 1832 - Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Originally meeting in homes, the first structure, a log cabin, was erected in 1849, serving the dual purpose as a church and school for early pioneers. The first frame structure was erected in 1884, refurbished in 1948, and destroyed by a tornado in 1935. The new structure was dedicated October, 14, 1956.
First Permanent Court House, Morgan County
Built circa 1837 with special taxes levied for that purpose by Alabama Legislature, 1836. Replaced first court house, built circa 1825. Somerville was incorporated, 1819, county seat 1819-1891. Cotaco County created February 8, 1818, renamed Morgan County, June 14, 1821.
First Railroad West of Allegheny Mountains
Tuscumbia Courtland & Decatur RR-Built 1833 to bypass shoals in Tennessee River-absorbed by Memphis & Charleston and by Southern Railway in 1898.
Gen. Joseph Wheeler
For whom this lake in Tennessee River is named lived 1836-1906. His home 6 miles west. Lt. Gen. in Confederate Army 1864-65. Major Gen. U. S. Army 1898. Named by Alabama to Hall of Fame, Washington 1922.
Abundant water and fertile land in this area south of the Tennessee River attracted pioneer settlement in the early 1800s. The community established here by three Virginia-born brothers, Hopkins, John, and Theophilus Lacy, took on their name and became the site for a U.S. post office in February 1831. "Lacy's Spring" became "Lacey's Spring" when the postal seal furnished by Washington officials inserted an "e" into the name.
Hopkins Lacy had been active in Tennessee politics prior to his immigration into Alabama and John reportedly had served in the North Carolina militia during the American Revolution. The Lacys became important landowners in the area, promoting settlement and serving in public office. All three brothers were buried in Bartee Cemetery, west of this site.
The spring that had drawn the Lacys to Alabama in the early 19th century was covered over by highway construction in the late 20th century. Built in the 1960s, the north-bound lanes of Hwy 231 obscured the spring but a 48-inch tile placed into the water source allowed the spring to continue flowing.
[2000: Hwy 231]
Old State Bank Building
Erected 1833. Cost $9,482. Classic Revival design. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Decatur Branch, Bank of The State of Alabama. Chartered 1832 by state legislature, profitable until 1837, charter revoked 1842 and closed. 1842-1901 used as residence, Union Army supply depot, and First National Bank. 1901 purchased by Dr. F. Y. Cantwell. Renovated 1934 by C.W.A. as museum and civic hall. Donated by Mrs. W. B. Edmundson and American Legion Post No. 15 to City. Restored 1982. Site is original lot No. 60 of 1824 Town Plan.
[1983: 624 Bank St., Decatur]
Schaudies - Banks Cottage
During the 1870s, Samuel Schaudies and Abbie Robinson Schaudies moved to this site from Huntsville and purchased this five-room cottage in 1881 for $800.00. The deed lists this site as part of Lot 84, "Old Town" Decatur. In 1875, their daughter, Tulie Ophelia, was born and, in 1898, she married H.J. Banks in the parlor. He was a descendant of a pioneer Decatur family, notary public, businessman, and son of a city alderman. Their daughter, Athelyne Celest, was born and lived in this cottage for 98 years. She was a tireless church worker, educator, and philanthropist. An academy, city park, and elementary school were named in her honor.
[2006: Sycamore St. at Pound St., Decatur]
"Vale of Beauty"
The restorative qualities of the mineral springs here attracted settlement in the early 1800s. Variously known as Chunn Springs (after Lancelot Chunn) and Manning Springs (after Robert Manning), the spot was named for early developers of the resort where a hotel and surrounding cabins were erected between 1818 and 1823. By 1834, when the first post ofice was established, it was called White Sulphur Springs.
Jean Joseph Giers acquired the hotel and surrounding property in 1856, renaming it "Valhermoso Springs." Into the 20th century, travelers from all over the world came to the hotel and springs seeking relief from rheumatism, insomnia, consumption, and ailments of the skin, kidneys, stomach, and liver. The hotel closed in the 1920s and was destroyed by tornado in 1950.
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