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Linden council votes to host 2010 festival

The Linden City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night setting the initial plans for how the city will celebrate the “The Year of Alabama Small Towns’ Downtowns.”

The city council had until Dec. 1 to decide if the city would participate in a special statewide recognition of small towns called upon by Gov. Bob Riley.

The city was required to pass a resolution declaring Linden would host a homecoming celebration sometime in 2010. The council picked Dec. 10-11 to coincide with the Christmas festival.

“We will invite back any former residents of Linden for the homecoming weekend and unveil a special marker that tells about the history of the town,” said Linden mayor Mitzi Gates.

Gates asked the Linden Historical Society to prepare the text for the marker, which they did in just two weeks. Society members Betty Jane Garner, Melanie Hale and Polly Wallace presented it to the council Tuesday.

“This will be a two-sided marker that will be a complimentary gift from the state,” said Gates.

The marker will read in part: “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 the 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’.”

The marker also stated that Linden, the county seat since 1870, except for a few months during reconstruction, has housed four courthouses — a log courthouse built in 1848, a federal style courthouse on Cahaba Avenue, which is still standing, a Gothic style courthouse built in 1903 and the current courthouse which was constructed in 1968 to replace the previous one that burned.

“Citizens witnesses a gun fight between Deputy Sheriff Jeff “Dixie” Carter and notorious train robber Rube Burrows in front of the courthouse in 1890,” the text for the marker points out.

“There will also be a book that the Alabama Department of Tourism will publish that will include photos and a history of Linden, as well as, other participating towns in this special celebration,” said Gates.

“I am considering this year’s ChillyFest as our first trial run for this large of a celebration,” Gates added. “We’ll have 2009 to really work out the kinks, then by 2010 we’ll really have something going on.”

The council unanimously passed the resolution declaring their participation and plans for the 2010 celebration.

In other business —

Linden Police Chief Scott McClure informed the council that Thursday at 9 a.m. the Alabama Highway Patrol and Linden Police Department will conduct a license check in the city limits.

“They (highway patrol) will be bringing what they call the B.A.T. mobile. It is a breath, alcohol, testing mobile unit,” said McClure. “This is just a wake up for people before the holidays.”

He said the B.A.T unit will also be in Demopolis and somewhere in Marengo County.

In relation to Linden’s playoff game at Loachopoka, Chief McClure told the council his department plans to give the school buses who will be going to the game a two-car escort.