Monroeville: The Search for Harper Lee's Maycomb (Images of America: Alabama)
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For 39 years, people from all over the world and all walks of life have come to the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, in search of a place called Maycomb. They come in search of a story that have moved millions of people with its enduring message, and in search of the world of the storyteller. Monroeville: The Search for Harper Lee's Maycomb explores the relationship between Harper Lee's hometown and the setting of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Born in response to the curiosities of visitors to the Monroe County Heritage Museums, this book explores the parallels between the tow worlds through vintage images and informative captions. Included are photographs of the Lee family and the author in her early years; the sights of Monroeville that undoubtedly inspired the setting of Maycomb; the cast of the Oscar-winning film adaptation that premiered in 1963; and the Mockingbird Players, a group of Monroeville residents who, each year in May, present an authentic production of the two-act play adapted by Christopher Sergel. Among the visitors to Monroeville are teachers and lawyers making a pilgrimage to Atticus' courtroom, scholars in search of unanswered questions, and fans of the novel trying to capture a glimpse of Scout's world. The Monroe County Heritage Museums, under the direction of Kathy McCoy, made this possible in 1991 with the opening of the Old Courthouse Museum on the town square. Visitors now leave Monroeville feeling as if they walked the streets of Maycomb on a hot summer day, enchanted by the imagined presence of Sout, Jem, and Dill exploring their neighborhood in an era of tumultuous change.
D.D. Mims. Hudson and Mims ran an ice plant and generated electricity for the town. “Past the old bank building, was the Jitney Jungle Grocery Store, then my store next, then the old jail, and the Journal was past there,” A.B. Blass Jr. recalls. “When Gregory Peck came into town for three or four days in 1962, he came in my store to try and pick up the language of the people and the stories that had happened. My dad started the store in 1939, and I ran it several years myself. Gregory Peck came
“Yes!” Watson Black (Jem), Haller Smith (Scout), Lesley Coats (Mayella), and Shane Dougherty (Dill) relax in the courtroom during the May 1999 performances. In 1997, the Alabama Bar Association erected its first Legal Milestone Monument on the south lawn of the Old Courthouse Museum, in memory of a fictional character, “Atticus Finch, lawyer—hero.” In a rare communication from Harper Lee to the Alabama Bar Association, printed in the July 1997 issue of the Alabama Lawyer magazine, Miss Lee says
dedicated to the preservation of folk traditions. Along with the mill is a restored blacksmith shop, 19th-century barn, cane syrup mill, carriage house, cabin, and covered bridge gift shop. The Monroe County Heritage Museums began in 1991, with the Old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville. The play presented here by the Mockingbird Players is held annually in May. In 1994, restoration of Rikard’s Mill on Flat Creek near Beatrice had been completed, and the Mill began grinding corn into cornmeal and
sister, Jenny, owned V.H. & C.E. Faulk, a millinery shop on the Square, called ‘Miss Jenny’s’ by everyone. (The building was later used by Morgan Furniture Company.) She and her sister Callie ran the store together. “Truman always had fancy clothes, unlike the other kids in town,” says Dr. Murphy. “When the children would go swimming in the creek, Truman had a full Hawaiian bathing suit and jacket. One of our teachers said he looked like a ‘bird of paradise in a flock of crows.’ ” Truman
the 1930s, three operators alternated duty on the switchboard, which was “information central” for the town. A.B. Blass Jr., local resident, remembers the old telephone system. “One day I dialed my girlfriend’s number and before it could ring, the operator came on the line and said, ‘A.B., if you want Sarann, she is over at Jean’s.’ ” The Jones Hotel was on this street, too. In this photo, it is the two-story building with columns. When we say hotel, it brings to mind hotels like we have today,