The Alabama Territorial Legislature established Marengo County in 1818. The 'Town of Marengo" was then surveyed near the center of the county to serve as county seat. In 1824, lots were sold and early French immigrants named the town Hohenlinden for Napoleon's victory in Bavaria in 1800. Everyday usage shortened the name to Linden [†]. Lodging houses, stores, homes and churches surrounded a two-story log courthouse built in 1827. While courts were in session, the town became so rowdy that it earned the unofficial name of "Screamersville." During the 1840s, Linden had 160 residents, a wooden jail, two small stores and a barbership. In 1848, the log courthouse burned and the brick, federal style courthouse was built on the main thoroughfare of Cahaba Avenue. A stagecoach regularly passed through town en route from Mobile to Huntsville. "The Linden Jeffersonian" newspaper began publication in 1853; 'The Democrat Reporter" weekly newspaper has served the surrounding area since 1879.
The City of Linden, incorporated May 1, 1870, remained the county seat except for a few months during Reconstruction. Citizens witnessed a gunfight between Deputy Sheriff Jefferson Davis "Dixie" Carter and notorious train robber Rube Burrows in front of the courthouse in 1890. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad track, nine-tenths of a mile south of "old town," was completed in 1902. A "new town" grew near the depot as businesses relocated to serve railroad customers. Linden's "middle town" grew near a Gothic-style courthouse constructed in 1903 at the corner of Main Street and Coats Avenue. That courthouse with its chiming clock tower was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1968 by a new structure built on the same site. This area continues to be the Linden downtown business district into the 21st century. The center for government services in the county, Linden has an economy that is also based on local agriculture, timber, livestock and recreational activities.
† From the historic marker in Gazebo Park, Main and Dunn Streets.