Lumber, farming and oil drive this Piney Woods community’s economy, but music is Linden’s soul. Ragtime legend Scott Joplin, blues phenomenon Aaron “T-Bone” Walker, and Rock and Pop star Don Henley all have called this Piney Woods town home. That rich heritage is celebrated at the Music City Theater, the renovated, 1950 former American Legion Auditorium, where nationally known bands of all genres perform in an intimate setting. In June, the theater hosts the annual T-Bone Walker Blues Fest, preserving the musical legacy of the late singer, dancer and guitarist.
Linden was founded in 1848 and became the seat of Cass County. The Classical Revival county courthouse, completed in 1861, is the oldest continuously operating courthouse in Texas. The building was modified and expanded over the years, but with assistance from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program the structure was restored to its 1930s appearance. Not only is Linden’s African American heritage exemplified in the musical legacies of Joplin and Walker, but that history also is documented in a dynamic 1939 mural in the Department of Agriculture and Post Office Building downtown. Titled “The Last Crop,” and created by artist Victor Arnautoff, the mural depicts African American tenant farmers harvesting cotton by hand during the Great Depression. North of town, the 1925 Pleasant Hill School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built with funds from the community and the from Julius Rosenwald Fund, which helped construct thousands of schools during the early 20th Century for African Americans in the South. The two-room schoolhouse served students until 1964.