Rural Tenn. courthouse site of Scopes monkey trial
Bryan was followed by adoring crowds. His life-size statue today adorns the courthouse lawn, where there is nothing of Darrow and Scopes. Bryan College, ("Christ Above All"), an accredited institution of some 800 students, arose from the trial and continues to flourish.
Dayton, a pleasant riverside community, now grown 10-fold, has returned to its quiet ways. The festival includes trial reenactments and trial transcripts in the original courtroom, said Becky Bodkin, executive assistant to the Rhea County Economic and Tourism Council.
The event draws good crowds, she said, and tries to tend to all ages. Many visitors make it a day trip from Chattanooga 45 minutes or so to the south.
She said a few newer motels and restaurants have opened but that accommodations generally are scanty. The basic fundamentalism of the 1920s, she said, probably still dominates in Dayton.
Scopes was convicted in nine minutes by the watch and fined the minimum $100. The verdict was overturned on a technicality but the law was upheld and stayed on the books until 1967.
Scopes was offered his job back but declined, continued his studies and became a geologist in the oil industry.
Bryan suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep in Dayton a week after the trial, the last stand for a religious warrior who ‘‘kept the faith.’’
It says so right on his grave marker.
If You Go...
SCOPES TRIAL MUSEUM & RHEA COUNTY COURTHOUSE: 1475 Market St., Dayton, Tenn.; http://www.rheacounty.com/attractions.html or 423-775-7801. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. From U.S. 27, turn west on Highway 30. Courthouse is at intersection of Market Street and Highway 30. Festival with reenactments in the original courtroom, July 20-21. Dayton is about 40 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tenn., 155 miles from Nashville and 155 miles from Atlanta.