No one would make that mistake
today. The clock-towered courthouse and lawn are flanked by a square of
shops, just as they were in Lee’s childhood.
But the office where her
father once practiced law in the Monroe County Bank building is now an
empty storefront on the southwest corner.
A charity organization sits where the local jail once stood.
Lee describes the jail – “a
miniature Gothic joke one cell wide and two cells high” – in a tense
scene in which Atticus stands guard the night before the trial, as a mob
of drunken locals come to lynch his client.
You can still spy the real cells, now used for storage, from the Sheriff's office that abuts the original building.
Just a stone’s throw from the cells is the library,
where I found a living treasure in its director, Bunny Hines Nobles.
Lovely to the bone with the most affable “y’all” in town, Nobles is the daughter and sister of former Monroeville mayors, and a friend of the Lee family.