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.