Rhea County Courthouse – Dayton, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

Rhea County Courthouse

Dayton, Tennessee

The site of the Scopes Trial contains a small exhibit dedicated to the famous case. 

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This ordinary-looking courthouse was the setting for the Scopes Trial, in which Clarence Darrow and William Jennings faced off in court as part of a plot to bring public attention to a state law that banned human evolution from being taught in Tennessee’s public schools. A man named John Scopes, a substitute teacher, intentionally incriminated himself for teaching evolution to draw awareness to the law.

Today, both attorneys from the case are featured on the courthouse lawn. You can still visit the same courtroom on the second floor, which is arranged much like it was 100 years ago. There is also a museum about the famous trial in the basement that’s open six days a week in the summer.

Know Before You Go

Dayton is a scenic 45-minute drive North from Chattanooga. It's still a small town but has a number of local restaurants and a brewery. 

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