At the time of the first settlers in what is now Lineville, the town was part of Randolph County. In 1833 or 1834, brothers Thomas F. and William Y. Lundie (also spelled Lundy and Lundey), moved to the area from Chambers County and in 1838 opened a trading post on a route traveled by miners exploiting the region's brief gold rush and by pioneers heading west. This route, known as the Old McIntosh Trail, had earlier served to connect the Creek Indian village of Talladega and Creek villages in Georgia and likely was named for Creek Indian leader William McIntosh. The first settlers in the area earned their living primarily through raising cattle, but by the beginning of the 1840s, the settlement's economy had shifted to cotton and corn production . As more roads connected the town with areas to the east, west, and north, the stopover became known as Lundie's Cross Roads. Thomas Lundie served as Randolph County commissioner from 1844-52 and ran unsuccessfully for the Alabama State Senate in 1853 as a Whig Party candidate. In April 1856, the federal government established a post office, and the town became known as County Line because it lay just inside the Randolph County side of the border with Talladega County. The town's first school, the County Line Academy, was established at this time as well, with an initial donation of land and funds from the Lundie brothers. By the outbreak of the Civil War, County Line was an important agricultural community surrounded by plantations growing corn and cotton. After the war, the area, like many Alabama communities, suffered a severe economic downturn and population loss.
In 1866, the Alabama state government formed Clay County from portions of Talladega and Randolph Counties, primarily because the region that encompassed County Line was cut off from the county seats of both Randolph and Talladega Counties by the Tallapoosa River and the Talladega Mountains, respectively. County Line was in contention for the site of the county seat with nearby Ashland, but Ashland won out. County Line served as the temporary seat briefly until a courthouse was constructed in Ashland in 1867.
On February 3, 1870, the town name was changed to Lineville because it no longer lay on a county line. The County Line Academy also was renamed Lineville Academy. The first newspaper, the Clay County Watchman, was established in the town in 1884, and in 1890, the town was chosen as the site of a post-secondary school that was named Lineville College; it operated until 1911.
The city of Lineville was officially incorporated in 1898, and graphite mining became an important industry at this time. The Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic Railroad lay track through the town in 1907, and the town's economy greatly expanded afterward with the addition of banks, hotels, and other businesses. Also in 1907, Lineville Academy was replaced with the North East Alabama Agricultural and Industrial Institute, a move that reflected the region's expanding economy. Public utilities were established in Lineville in 1916, and the town constructed a large water tower that is now on the list of Alabama historic landmarks. Farming, mining, and mercantile businesses remained the most important aspects of the town's economy, and by 1920, the population had risen to 1,500 people. However, the decreased demand for graphite at the end of World War I and the subsequent Great Depression caused the town to decline, and many of the surrounding farms were abandoned.
The town's economy rebounded in the years before and during World War II and was centered primarily on forestry and agriculture. By the end of the 1940s, however, farming had been largely replaced by the forest products industry as the major employer, with poultry and cattle raising gaining importance as well. Beginning in the 1970s, textile and chicken-processing plants were established in the area, and the construction of the R. L. Harris Dam by the Alabama Power Company provided construction jobs for many residents of Lineville. Forest products and food products continue to be important employers.
At the time of the 2000 Census, Lineville;s population was 2,401; the 2009 estimate is 2,325. In 2000, 60.2 percent identified themselves as white, 37.8 percent as African American, 2.6 percent as Hispanic, 0.2 percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The estimated per capita income in 2009 was $17,326, and the estimated median household income was $40,489.
The workforce in present-day Lineville is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Manufacturing (40.5 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (17.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (14.0 percent)
· Public administration (6.7 percent)
· Information (5.5 percent)
· Retail trade (4.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.9 percent)
· Construction (2.6 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (1.6 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (1.4 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.3 percent)
· Wholesale trade (0.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (0.4 percent)
Major employers include NHS Management, Higgins Embroidery, 3-D Woodcraft, Piggly Wiggly of Lineville, and the Clay County Rescue Squad. The Lineville Industrial Park is home to a number of wood-products industries.
Lineville schools are part of the Clay County School District. The city itself has one elementary school and one high school with a combined enrollment of 872 students. The schools employ 54 teachers.
Lineville lies on County Road 9, which runs northeast-southwest, County Road 48, which runs east from the town, and County Road 49/77, which runs south from the town. The Ashland/Lineville Airport serves general aviation.
Events and Places of Interest
Clay County Veterans Memorial Park includes picnic and recreational facilities, a pavilion for large-group events, a pond, a playground, and vintage military vehicles such as a World War II tank and a fighter plane. The nearby Talladega National Forest provides numerous outdoor activities for visitors.
Each September, the city of Lineville hosts its annual Alabama Heritage Day, which offers visitors crafts, food vendors, a costume contest, and a parade. In November, the city hosts the annual Alcarzar Car Show and Swap Meet, which features antique cars, crafts, and live entertainment. In March, there is an Annual Indian Artifact Show held at the local Alabama National Guard Armory.
Claire M. Wilson
Published February 16, 2011
Last updated March 22, 2013