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Scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Mob scene from Monroe County Heritage Museum production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" Photo - Doug Howell

To Kill a Mockingbird and Old Monroe County Courthouse

A production of the Pulitzer Prize winner, To Kill a Mockingbird, is performed each May in the courtroom and lawn of the Old Monroe County Courthouse, now a museum. Designed by the noted southern architect, Andrew Bryan, the courthouse was once known as "Stallworth's folly" after Judge Nicholas J. Stallworth, who hired Bryan in 1903. Construction went over budget, adversely affecting the judge's popularity and costing him his re-election. Nonetheless, the courthouse won praise in The Monroe Journal as "one of the handsomest and most conveniently appointed [courthouses] in the state."

Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was born in Monroeville in 1926, and grew up with the old courthouse as the center of all activity on the town square. It is easy to imagine the elegant courtroom of the old courthouse may have inspired parts of her book. It is said that she insisted the director for the film "To Kill a Mockingbird" visit the Old Monroe County Courthouse before constructing the movie sets. The actor Gregory Peck also came to see the courthouse and town. He later said that role of Atticus Finch was his favorite of all time. Standing in the courtroom, one can almost hear Finch's voice ringing out, "In the name of God, do your duty."

Documentation includes a text report, two books about Monroeville, photographs, a poster, newspaper articles, play programs, and museum brochures.

Originally submitted by: Sonny Callahan, Representative (1st District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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