The Salvation Army first came to Decatur in 1904. The area was suffering from economic problems due to the large layoffs from the local rail yards. The railroads were one of the largest employers at this time in Decatur.
The Army struggled for several years and was forced to close in 1927. Envoy Ella McCune continued to do mission work in Decatur from 1927 until 1929. The railroad industry in Decatur continued to have problems between unions and the railroad companies. Railroads were the main industry in Decatur and after being relocated to Nashville the surrounding Decatur area suffered massive unemployment.
Charles Young an employee of the Goodyear Plant who had moved here from New England requested The Salvation Army provide welfare assistance for the area. At first, The Salvation Army was reluctant because the request was for social work only. The primary purpose of The Salvation Army has always been to reach out to those in need with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Salvation Army was asked again a year later with the agreement to do social work, welfare assistance and bring the needy to Jesus Christ.
Adjutant and Mrs. Frank Longino began their work in Decatur on January 17, 1940. Relief services were required upon their arrival because of a severe snowstorm. The initial site was poorly located and small so another facility was eventually obtained and renovated.
The attendance grew and soon the addition of a second facility provided by the Goodyear Mill was operational. This second facility called the Village Outpost was used for Sunday School, Girl Guards, Home League and boys activities.
Eighteen meetings a week were conducted between the two locations. The addition of The Boys Club added to The Salvation Army growth. Girl Guards, Sunbeams and other programs were conducted at the Boys Club.
The Decatur Home League was started and consisted of women who would gather baskets of cleaning supplies and visit homes of less fortunate people. If the residents of the home were receptive, the ladies would clean the home and share the Gospel. When the Home league saw a need of clothing or other necessary items, donated goods would be given to the family.
The Decatur Corps has continued to grow and expand with the dedication of a new facility in November 1978. With the addition of property on Austinville Road, the Decatur Corps has been able to establish a Transitional Housing facility.
The Salvation Army in Decatur serves the Morgan, Lawrence, and Limestone county area. With the continued assistance of our Advisory Board, The Salvation Army in Decatur will continue to grow and assist families during economic hardships and natural disasters.
Lieutenants Richard & Donna Watts are currently serving as our Corps Officers.