The area now known as Livingston, Alabama belonged to the nation of Choctaw Indians until the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. At that time settlers from the Carolina’s, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia established the first community about two blocks from the current Courthouse Square, near the corner of Madison and Spring Streets.
In 1833, a commission was formed to organize Sumter County. The city was named after Edward Livingston, a well-known statesman and jurist of the day. Livingston was chosen as the county seat. Soon followed the first newspaper, The Voice of Sumter, four schools (including Livingston Female academy, now The University of West Alabama), the Sumter County Courthouse, and the Bored Well.
In the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century Livingston became widely known as a health spa and resort town because of the water from its unique Bored Well. Livingston was also known as the home of Alabama Normal School. The name of the college was later changed to the State Teachers College, then to Livingston State College, Livingston University and finally to The University of West Alabama.
Livingston remained the sleepy county seat of a mainly rural county, with a declining population, until the early 1960’s when efforts were made to revitalize the town. Results were amazing–the population nearly doubled in ten years, and corresponding increase in industry and business were registered.
In 1972 Livingston was named a finalist in the All American Cities Competition, sponsored by The Saturday Evening Post.
With all its progress, however, Livingston has managed to retain much of the quality which drew the following comments in a Family Weekly article by Alistair Cooke, renowned for his writing and his television series, Cooke’s America, and the earlier Omnibus:
“Livingston, Ala., was another jewel I well remember from an automobile trip in 1937…Livingston in the 1930’s was a serene and beautiful small town where an Englishman to whom I was showing the county decided he would wish to live and die.”
“Livingston had a charm and serenity….It retained a character unlike that of any small town in Michigan or New York…”