"A Hard Nut To Crack"
— The Battle For Decatur —The oldest home in Decatur still standing, this Early Classical Revival mansion was built by Frank Dancy and was a private residence until 1872, when it became a boarding house and hotel. During the Civil War, the home belonged to Dancy's daughter, Caroline Wood, and occupied the front center of Union fortifications during the October 1864 Battle for Decatur, and was used as Federal officer' quarters. Tradition holds that a Confederate 6-pounder cannon ball, fired from the Confederate lines south of here, struck and dislodge one of the chestnut columns on the lower front porch. The column was subsequently repaired, and the patch can still be seen today. Local legend also maintains that the main staircase was damaged by Federal cavalrymen during its occupation. The house passed to Dancy's granddaughter, Lavinia, in 1869, after she married Captain Thomas G. Polk, a nephew of late Confederate General Leonidas Polk and cousin of late U. S. President James Knox Polk. One of a handful of structures in Decatur to survive the Civil War, the Polk House, as it was later known, became a popular stopping point for train passengers. Joseph Wheeler, a Confederate General, later a U. S. Congressman and U. S. General, and a resident of Courtland west of Decatur, is known to have stayed at the Polk House. Noted outlaw Frank James allegedly stayed at the Polk House under an assumed name in 1883. James later said that he never committed any robberies in Decatur because "there was nothing worth carrying off."
|Placed By||City of Decatur|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 6:45am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 501365 N 3830306|
|Decimal Degrees||34.61461667, -86.98510000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 36.877', W 86° 59.106'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 36' 52.62" N, 86° 59' 6.36" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 100-198 Railroad St NW, Decatur AL 35601, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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