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Decatur is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, which is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 19,335 in the 2010 census, the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple ZIP Codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear Decatur as the address. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations (Decatur, East Lake, and Avondale). The city is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with both the city of Atlanta (the Kirkwood neighborhood) and unincorporated DeKalb County. The Druid Hills neighborhood is to the northwest of Decatur. The unofficial motto of Decatur used by some residents is "Everything is Greater in Decatur."
Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today's Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.
Shallowford Road, which led to the Shallow Ford, has been renamed Clairmont Avenue, probably because it does not go to, from or past any place called Clairmont. Covington Road is now Sycamore Street, probably because it leads to Covington and has no Sycamores on it. Nelson's Ferry Road, named after the local family which ran the ferry at the Chattahoochee end of the road, has been named Ponce de Leon after a family prominent, before Castro, in Havana, Cuba.
During the American Civil War, Decatur became a strategic site in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.